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Peter Collier Government of Western Australia

Western Australia 'can take one-third of unemployed from Ireland'

The state’s jobs minister says the region needs 150,000 workers – or one in three of those on the Live Register.

ONE THIRD of Ireland’s 450,000 unemployed people could potentially find jobs in Western Australia, according to the state’s jobs minister.

Minister for Energy, Training and Workforce Development Peter Collier said the region faces a shortfall of 150,000 workers by 2017. Referring to figures showing 457,948 people on Ireland’s Live Register last month, he told “Well, we can look after a third of those.”

Mr Collier, who was speaking during a visit to Ireland to recruit workers, added: “Perhaps that’s being flippant, but what we’ll be doing is opening the doors to anyone.

We need more workers, and we’re looking for people from now. There are projects out there now that are slowing down because we don’t have enough workers.

Western Australia is currently in the middle of a resource boom, with planned mining and gas extraction projects worth €145billion on the table. However, Mr Collier said there is a need for a broad range of workers.  “It’s not just in construction, or automotive, or electrical,” he said, adding that they are seeking staff in the hospitality, retail, aged care, health, education, disability services and tourism industries.

He added they are co-operating with the federal Australian government to expedite visas for potential Irish migrants. “We’re working to accelerate the process,” he said. “But also to offer more versatility. We’ll work with our federal colleagues to ensure if barriers exist from a purely visa perspective, that those barriers are removed.”

Mr Collier held a recruitment seminar at Dublin’s Citywest Hotel last night. He said “almost a thousand” people had attended, including families and older workers. There are both short and long-term working opportunities in the area, he said.

I’m not over here to pinch your workers, I’m over here to borrow them. Frankly, if people come over and they like Western Australia – and there’s nothing not to like – they may make a conscious choice to stay, and they’ll be very welcome. But there’ll be another cohort of people who may just want to do it in the short term. The opportunities are endless.

Mr Collier, who will continue his recruitment efforts in the UK today, added that jobs might not be the only attraction of his region. “The sun shines in Western Australia,” he said. “It was 22 degrees there yesterday, and it’s the middle of winter.”

Read more: Western Australia Jobs Minister on the hunt for Irish workers >

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