Subject: Plan to employ East Timorese workers has support: MacTiernan

ABC

Plan to employ East Timorese workers has support: MacTiernan

Posted 4 hours 19 minutes ago

The State Government says there is widespread support for a plan to fly unskilled East Timorese workers into the Kimberley to try to address the region's chronic labour shortage.

In February, the Government signed a Memorandum of Understanding with East Timor to employ workers on major government infrastructure projects in the Pilbara and Kimberley.

The Minister for Planning and Infrastructure, Alannah MacTiernan, met hospitality and tourism operators in Broome.

She says there is overwhelming support for expanding the agreement to other industries.

The Commonwealth would have to sign off on any agreement and is yet to indicate its support.

Ms MacTiernan denies suggestions local people would miss out on jobs as a result of the plan.

"There is no shortage of employment here, I think everyone acknowledges that, the challenge is in fact to find staff," she said.

"I don't think anyone could argue that this is displacing local people.

"It's a win for the businesses and the industry of the Kimberley because it ensures that we have got labour.

"Secondly it's a great opportunity for East Timorese because not only is it a chance for them to not only earn income, but also to acquire skills that are going to be really important to setting up businesses in there own country."

The Commonwealth must sign off on the proposal before it can go ahead.


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