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SA willing to let overseas workers fill skill gaps: Snelling
14/06/2012 - South Australia is willing to look to overseas workers to fill skill gaps in its booming mining industry, Treasurer and Defence Industries Minister Jack Snelling says.
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Snelling says the state government wants those people who come to fill key positions and make South Australia their long-term home.
He says the government recognises that it won't be able to meet the demand for skilled labour from its local workforce, despite investing heavily in extra training places and in the way vocational education and training is delivered.
"It is a key challenge, not only for the defence industry, but for the resources sector as well, as that begins to take off," Snelling told a defence industry briefing on Wednesday.
"We're still going to need workers to come in from interstate and overseas to help fill those skill gaps.
"But what we want to make sure is that all South Australians have an opportunity to participate in the prosperity that is going to come both from the defence industry and the resources sector."
With SA holding major contracts to build the new fleet of air warfare destroyers, along with a large slice of work on Australia's next fleet of submarines, Snelling said the state was well placed to withstand the current downturn in defence spending, including cuts in the most recent federal budget.
"It's fair to say that nationally, the defence industry will be impacted," he said.
"In the next few years the reduced defence spending is likely to cause pain to those companies who haven't prepared for the downturn."
Snelling said it was important for the defence industry and South Australia to retain skilled workers to take advantage of a surge in defence spending tipped from 2015.
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