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Premier Mark McGowan is confident Western Australia has the right skilled workers to deliver on the state's Metronet public transport masterplan, despite industry concerns about competition for talent from other industries and major interstate rail projects.
The first stage of the State Government's flagship transport commitment, the $4.75 billion Metronet plan, is gaining momentum.
[color=#310099]Industry experts recently warned attracting the required "rail talent" could be a challenge[/color], given a national skills shortage of rail workers due to overlapping major rail projects in Sydney, Melbourne, Canberra and Brisbane.
[color=#310099][color=#000000][size=1][b]EMBED:[/b][/color] Datawrapper Cost of Australian rail projects[/color][/size]
But Mr McGowan said the skill set needed to fill the positions — expected to peak at 3,000 workers over the project's lifetime — could be found locally.
"I am confident that there are the right skill sets out there in Western Australia, " he said.
"We are training lots of people in the areas that are required, but we'll monitor this as it goes along."
Show them the money to get workers backGraham Butler, general manager of Railtrain, the parent company of rail maintenance and construction services provider RMC Rail, agreed that WA had the talent required for Metronet.
But he said workers who have turned to other industries for work would need to be lured back.
"A lot of the specialist labour has left the rail industry — engineers, specialised labour — so providing those (people) come back to rail, and I am sure they probably will, then I believe WA can fulfil those (Metronet) demands," Mr Butler said.
"But the trick is … good conditions, continuous project. It's a long-term project, that's really key.
"[You'll need] good rosters, good rates to get them back."
WA jobless rate still highLast quarter, [color=#310099]WA's unemployment rate rose to its highest level in 16 years[/color].
Mr McGowan said he was determined to use its major infrastructure plan to curb that and deliver on its election promise to create thousands of new jobs.
[/color] WA Premier, Mark McGowan, rejects suggestions a skills shortage will affect the state's ability to deliver on the Metronet rail project. [color=#666666][size=1](ABC News: Eliza Laschon)[/size][/color][/color][/size]
"Considering our state's unemployment rate, we want to get that down and we want to make sure West Australians benefit from these projects," he said.
Data released today by WA's Chamber of Commerce and Industry shows consumer confidence is at a four-year high, but growth is being constrained by high costs of living and high unemployment.
Mr McGowan admitted the unemployment figure remained a concern.
"It also shows more people are looking for jobs," he said.
"We have the highest participation rate in the country by a long way and that means more people have confidence that there are jobs out there, so we expect over the coming year that the rate will come down."
This article first appeared on www.abc.net.au
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