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Rallies staged in WA to demand labour for local workers
16/07/2012 - About 1500 people have turned out for union rallies in the Pilbara towns of Port Hedland and Karratha in northern Western Australia to demand mining and petroleum jobs for local workers.
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The simultaneous rallies were held about midday (WST) on Sunday, with organisers saying about 1000 people had gathered outside the Karratha Shopping Centre and 500 on the Port Hedland waterfront.
The rallies were held by combined unions, led by the Construction, Forestry, Mining and Energy Union (CFMEU) and Maritime Union of Australia (MUA), and followed similar protests in Perth and Melbourne almost two weeks ago.
The actions were part of an ongoing campaign opposing plans to import skilled overseas workers for large resources projects.
Gina Rinehart's privately-owned Hancock Prospecting is the first company to be given the go-ahead to import 1700 workers for its Roy Hill iron ore project in the Pilbara under the federal government's enterprise migration agreement (EMA) scheme.
MUA WA branch secretary Chris Cain told reporters from Karratha that the unions were not opposed to foreign labour, but believed Australian workers should be given first preference.
He said companies and successive governments had not done enough to train local workers to fill skills shortages in the oil, gas and mining sectors, and shouldn't use that as an excuse to import cheap labour.
Cain said the campaign would continue, with further actions planned.
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sylvia | 16/07/2012 11:10 1
Not just local labour needs protecting but also local suppliers. Gorgon, the great windfall for Australia, tendered its training and it went to an offshore company. I know there are RTOs in Australia, experienced and competent, yet once again a multi million dollare project went offshore. Bob Kattar is right, Australia will be owned by foreigners, employing foreign labour and Australians will just end up with a bloody great hole in the ground from the miners and no gas or oil in the future. Common pollies, start protecting Australia, not giving it away!
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