The Minerals Council of Australia (MCA) has claimed the Federal Government’s ambition to increase the jobs and skills Australia needs to mine and develop the critical minerals required to achieve net zero will be dealt a significant blow by industrial relations changes.
According to the government’s Jobs and Skills Report, Australian mining will be a key driver of skills development in the coming decade, with the sector tipped to grow by 18 per cent — this growth rate is second only to the services sector.
However, the MCA says the government’s new proposed workplace relations legislation may undermine any gains achieved on employment — as it threatens jobs, opportunities and might even chase investment overseas.
In its submission to the Clean Energy Capacity Study, the MCA stated that Australia was ‘starting from behind’ in generating the workforce needed for the mining and production of materials required to reach its net zero ambition.
“The MCA supports initiatives announced in both key employment reports aimed at bridging the skills gap,” the organisation said.
The Business Council of Australia also supports the importance of better integration of higher education and VET, along with the expansion of micro-credentials to meet the changing needs of businesses and workers.
Business Council chief executive Bran Black said: “We acknowledge the government’s commitment to collaborate alongside industry and the education and training sectors to map out Australia’s current, emerging and future skills needs.
“We strongly supported the focus on skills in the government’s Employment White Paper and, in particular, the commitment to lifelong learning and the scoping work for a skills passport to make it easier for employers to hire people, and for potential employees to showcase their skills.
“What is crucial now is that we take these findings and put them into action. We need a skills system that thinks big if we want to build new industries and grow the economy — and new skills will get us there,” said Black.
The inaugural Jobs and Skills Report 2023 lays the groundwork towards a national jobs and skills roadmap to be developed over the coming year and beyond, in collaboration with industry, Jobs and Skills Councils, the education and training sectors, states and territories, and Australian Government agencies.