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Spotlight on industry skills shortage at WA summit

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The Transport Workers’ Union WA Branch will today present its submission to the WA Skills Summit as the WA Premier hosts industry leaders in Perth to discuss skills shortages.

The TWU’s submission concludes that there are more profound issues confronting the transport industry as to why there is a shortage of workers in the industry, opposed to border closures and restrictions on overseas workers.

Click here for the union’s full submission.

“The transport industry is the most dangerous industry in Australia” said state secretary Tim Dawson.

“With workers dying on our roads, mental health in transport an ongoing problem, spending time away from family, unhealthy food options, unsafe/unhygienic toilets and facilities, sedentary roles, lack of respect from other road users and insecure work, these are all factors in why we are failing to attract and retain workers to a career in transport.”

“Further, there is no accredited pathway for training young people into a career in transport. Having accessible pathways and apprenticeships to become professional drivers that involve addressing skill gaps and preparing people to be job-ready, will go a long way in addressing shortages in our industry.”

The submission details shocking health problems in Australia’s most common job for men, chronic health conditions and mental health strain linked to crashes and near misses.

“Unless we clean up the industry, and bosses and wealthy clients like the retailers and the mining industry get behind it, we’ll fail at attracting and retaining a new generation of transport workers. An industry that carried us through the global pandemic.”

Earlier this week Western Roads Federation CEO Cam Dumesny told Big Rigs that there is an estimated shortfall of 1000 in the state’s driving ranks alone.

He’s calling on members to help lobby the federal government to have the industry included on the Priority Migration Skilled Occupation List to help plug the gap.

The state government is expected to announce additional initiatives to address WA’s skills needs following today’s summit.

“Western Australia is in an enviable position, with a thriving economy and a low unemployment rate, amid a global pandemic. But there are challenges that come with this,” said Premier Mark McGowan.

“Our strong economic position is putting significant pressure on the availability of skilled workers in WA.

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