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The Australian Government is hosting an employment expo in London during September to help employers find skilled workers from the UK, a Department of Immigration and Citizenship (DIAC) spokesman said today.

“Are you skilled in engineering, medical services, or trades? If so, Australia needs you,” the spokesman said.

“There is still a critical need for skilled workers across a range of Australian industries. The Skills Australia Needs Expo in London will target the industries most in need of skilled workers, such as the mining, health and construction industries.”

“The expo will play host to representatives from major Australian employers and governments from all Australian states and territories. Participants will be able to find out more about possible career pathways down under.”

Since the expo program started in 2005, some 23 expos have been staged in Australia and overseas, with eight in the United Kingdom.

The last UK expo was in 2009 and featured 38 exhibitors including Australian employers, government organisations and relocation service providers. More than 1800 people from the UK who had skills in high demand in Australia also attended.

“The last expo was a big success for both industry representatives and people attending: 90 per cent of participants said they would recommend future expos to friends, while 80 per cent thought they might have met a suitable sponsor for migration to Australia as a result of the expo,” a DIAC spokesman said.

The Skills Australia Needs expo will be staged in London on September 11 and 12.

For more information or to register interest in attending, please go to www.immi.gov.au/skillexpos/overseas.htm

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Business has warned that West Australians could be priced out of the resources boom and interest rates pushed even higher if the Federal Opposition follows through with a promise to slash the number of immigrants.

WA Chamber of Commerce and Industry chief economist John Nicolaou said the flagged cut would mean the abandonment of major developments by companies unable to find the workers they need to exploit the State’s natural resources.

He was backed by Trade Minister Simon Crean who said cutting immigration now would devastate economies like that of WA and Queensland which were crying out for workers.

The Opposition has signalled cutting the net immigration intake which, when temporary workers and students are taken into account, edged down to 297,000 in the three months to the end of September.

Shadow immigration minister Scott Morrison said forecasts of Australia’s population reaching 36 million by 2050 proved immigration under the Rudd Government was “out of control”.

He said a coalition government would bring immigration levels back to a “sustainable level”.

But Mr Nicolaou said with WA needing 400,000 people over the coming decade to deal with the resources boom, cutting immigration levels could prove economically disastrous to the State.

He said major resource companies would go overseas if they could not get the labour they needed in Australia.

Those that did continue work in WA would have to pay higher wages for their staff, which would then push up costs for the rest of the community.

“I think it’s very short-sighted if they’re looking at cutting immigration, because it’s going to push up costs for everyone through wages going up,” he said.

“We lost investment in the last boom because there were insufficient workers, and we run the risk of doing that again.”

Professor Peter Mc Donald of the Australian Demographic and Social Research Institute also warned that trying to cap immigration levels would have major economic ramifications for people already living in Australia. The Reserve Bank was already lifting interest rates to dampen demand.

“You’re just going to push up wages pressures and that will feed into higher interest rates,” he said.

Mr Crean said the resource States would be disadvantaged if the number of workers was artificially restricted.

“Mining companies generally are saying one of the biggest challenges they face … is the availability of skilled labour,” he said. “People calling for cuts to immigration programs ought to understand how the economy is functioning.” 

Source  :  www.thewest.com.au

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Initial work at the Chevron-led Gorgon gas project could begin before Christmas if final investment is approved by the three joint venture partners.

The proposed development, which was given final environmental approval today, will create as many as 10,000 jobs at its peak and underpin a major expansion of liquefied natural gas (LNG) production across Australia.

Chevron greater Gorgon area general manager Colin Beckett said a few other formal approvals were needed before a final investment decision was made.

He said he did not want to pre-empt the decision, which should be made “fairly soon”.

But Chevron was committed to the project, he said.

“We now need to just turn our attention to finalising a few other formal approvals which will be of much lower profile,” Mr Beckett said.

Once those are out of the way we will be able to finalise our final investment decision.”

Mr Beckett said that once a decision had been made the next step would be to place purchase orders and contracts for project construction.

He said the company had already committed to $2 billion of contracts.

“By Christmas we would be starting to do some of the initial work on Barrow Island while in other places we complete our design and get on with the procurement activity,” he said.

“So we’ll be making early strides there and by the end of next year we’ll be working pretty flat out on Barrow Island itself.”

Accommodation for 3,300 fly-in, fly-out workers will be included in the construction phase, which is expected to create 7,000 jobs for people working on the project and a further 3,000 in spin-off employment.

Mr Beckett said the project would draw labour from across Australia.

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PREMIER Colin Barnett may ask the Federal Government to relax foreign worker allowances to prevent labour shortages at major WA projects.

WA faces severe shortages of skilled workers in 2011, when there is expected to be peak activity in WA’s resources sector, Mr Barnett told a media conference in Perth yesterday.

The premier’s comments come as a large Chinese steel maker, Ansteel, contemplates the viability of developing WA’s first steel mill.

Other massive projects planned for the state include Woodside Petroleum Ltd’s Pluto Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) project, Chevron’s Gorgon LNG project, a new deep water port at Oakajee and CITIC Pacific’s Sino Iron project.

“I expect we will face serious skills shortages if these projects go together at the same time,” Mr Barnett said.

“Hopefully,  we can build these projects with Australian labour but I expect there will be skill shortages, in particular trades areas.

“We need to be prepared to bring in some of their (Chinese) workers.”

Source  :  www.news.com.au

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THE Rudd Government has dumped one of its key election promises, the Grocery Choice price monitoring website, after supermarkets failed to provide enough information to make the site reliable.

After a meeting today with major supermarkets, Competition Minister Craig Emerson announced that the measure – an election promise that was aimed at keeping grocery prices low – would not proceed, The Australian reported.

“Upon close examination of the data requirements for reliable price information, I have formed the view that it is not feasible to generate that information in a timely manner, “ Dr Emerson said.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    website cost of living in oz

The scheme had been due to be up and running next week.

The dumping of Grocery Choice comes after the Government last year abandoned FuelWatch after it was defeated in the Senate.

Mr Rudd campaigned heavily prior to the election on easing the cost-of-living pressures on working families and increasing competition in the petrol and grocery sectors.

Both FuelWatch and Grocery Choice were criticised for not putting downward pressure on prices.

Earlier this month it emerged that the consumer advocate Choice would be forced to go it alone on the website as the major supermarket chains continued to drag their feet over supplying price data.

Choice took over the running of the website from the Rudd Government, which launched it after campaigning on easing cost-of-living pressures before the election.

The $13 million site, which originally launched last August, was heavily criticised for displaying information that was too general and outdated to be useful.

Source  :  www.news.com.au

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Relief is on the way for stranded holidaymakers on Rottnest Island after a major ferry service decided to brave dubious weather conditions this weekend.

Rottnest Express had cancelled services until Monday, after forecasts of gale-force winds. It left up to 200 people stranded on the island until at least Monday, after the other operator, Oceanic Express, also decided against taking to the sea this weekend.

But Rottnest Express today decided to run skeleton services this weekend, with four trips to the island, and two back, tomorrow and Sunday.

Chief executive Tim Crosland said the company believed it had an obligation to always provide services “if safe”.

Each scheduled journey would be assessed on the prevailing weather conditions, he said.

Oceanic Express is running a service today for pre-booked passengers.

Source www.watoday.com.au

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Morley is set to get a revamp – with the $50 million Coventry Square development now out for public comment.                                      

“This is a great step forward for us,” said Greg Poland, the principal of The Strzelecki Group development company that plans to build the project.

“Once the six-week public consultation period has finished we can then start transforming the old Coventry’s warehouse into the ultimate tourist and shopping precinct.”

As well as being built in the heart of Morley – beside the Centro Galleria shopping mall – Coventry Square will be a major part of the new town centre for the City of Bayswater.

If approved, the development will house more than 200 specialty stores, selling everything from fashion, to local arts and crafts.

Mr Poland said the development would include restaurants, cafes, a microbrewery and a fresh food section dedicated to organic produce.

“At a time when the economy is slowing down, Coventry Square will be a real shot in the arm for Morley and the City of Bayswater by creating hundreds of new small businesses and jobs for about 1000 people,” he said.

The Strzelecki Group hopes to open Coventry Square in April next year.

Source  :   www.watoday.com.au

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