Local staff will be favoured over overseas workers on one of Australia’s largest ever resource construction projects, the state government of Western Australia has said.
Western Australian Commerce Minister Simon O’Brien says it is his understanding that Chevron and head contractor Bechtel ‘firmly’ intend to fill as many positions as possible with local workers for the company’s $29 billion Wheatstone Gas Project in Western Australia’s Pilbara region.
“I congratulate Chevron and Bechtel for taking this action at a time when there is considerable discussion about resource project proponents and their attitude to the use of Australian workers,” O’Brien said while attending the launch of the Wheatstone Jobs Facility, which will be central to Chevron’s efforts to recruit more than 5,000 workers for the project. “In my experience, project proponents are very keen to employ locally; and overseas sourcing is only pursued when no viable local alternative exists.”
A special jobs web site set up by Chevron says the company is looking for skilled workers and tradespeople with skills in a number of trades relating to industrial construction, such as carpenters, concrete workers, mobile plant operators, mobile plant fitters and civil labourers.
Chevron has previously been criticised by the union movement over the number of contracts it has awarded in its huge Gorgon Liquefied Natural Gas project in WA.
Unions claimed at the time that an analysis of the Gorgon contracts showed that large portions of work on contracts which Chevron had claimed were awarded locally were actually being performed offshore. Furthermore, unions said, many of the contracts which were genuinely sourced locally for things like earthworks, dredging and catering were in areas that involved little in the way of skills development.
O’Brien says, however, that local workers in his state are getting their fair share of work associated with significant resource construction projects.
He says the state is achieving more than 80 per cent levels of local content on offshore projects and 50 per cent levels on offshore projects.