Visa reforms could help realise petroleum potential: APPEA

PROPOSED reforms to temporary skilled migration arrangements would be an important step in helping the nation to harness the potential of the oil and gas industry to generate greater prosperity for all Australians, APPEA chief executive Belinda Robinson said today.
Visa reforms could help realise petroleum potential: APPEA Visa reforms could help realise petroleum potential: APPEA Visa reforms could help realise petroleum potential: APPEA Visa reforms could help realise petroleum potential: APPEA Visa reforms could help realise petroleum potential: APPEA

"Skills shortages are one of the key impediments to realising the enormous growth potential of Australia's oil and gas production industry," she said.

"The Rudd Government is to be commended for moving quickly to improve the temporary skilled migration program."

According to APPEA, an estimated $100 billion worth of oil and gas projects are in the pipeline and none of these is immune to problems associated with skills shortages.

Robinson said the establishment of centres of excellence using specialised teams in Perth, Sydney and Melbourne to process 457 visas was particularly welcome and recognises the vital role energy projects are playing in Western Australia in particular.

"The goal of working toward a one-stop shop for major infrastructure projects is particularly useful given the capital-intensive nature of oil and gas projects," she said.

"The shortage of skilled labour, while not unique to the industry, is becoming a real constraint to growth and is particularly challenging for companies planning to develop natural gas reserves for export where they will reduce global greenhouse gas emissions."

APPEA says it is working closely with the Commonwealth Government to better identify long-term industry skill requirements and qualifications.

It recently secured funding under the Australian Government's National Skills Shortage Strategy for a project designed to increase workforce participation, particularly for groups that are underrepresented in the oil and gas industry, such as women, indigenous Australians and mature-age workers.

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