The Master Builders Association has backed the use of foreign workers, saying the only short-term solution to finding enough skilled workers for both the mining and construction sectors is overseas labour.
The MBA today launched a tour of the Pilbara to assess how the mining boom is impacting the non-resources side of the building and construction sector.
The MBA’s national board will travel to Karratha and Port Hedland from August 23 to 25 so see how current government policy towards building and construction is working in remote mining communities.
Master Builders Western Australia director Michael McLean said more than $260 billion had been invested to boost the capacity of the mining industry in Australia over the six months to April, and that rapid investment had created specific challenges for government and the building industry.
Mr McLean and national MBA chief executive Wilhelm Harnisch said recruiting a skilled workforce to work in remote areas was a big test for the construction industry.
“The construction industry has been working with both federal and state governments to address this issue, but one of the immediate challenges is to find adequate skilled workers to meed the capacity requirements,” Mr Harnisch said.
“Despite the controversy, the short term answer lies in the use of Enterprise Migration Agreements and overseas workers.”
Mr Harnisch said the delegation would have a particular focus on skills, but it would also look at the need for housing and urban infrastructure in remote areas.