Local Content Beats Funding, Says Chamber

WEEKEND COURIER

Friday, March 9, 2012

Rockingham Kwinana Chamber of Commerce president Justin Smith says the State Government needs to monitor local content in major mining and resource projects rather than splash around small amounts of funding.Funding

Commerce Minister Simon O’Brien announced recently the Government would give $ 85,000 to help two leading industry bodies identify where local business could supply major projects.

The Association of Professional Engineers, Scientists and Managers of Australia will find ways for local engineers to get work in early phases of offshore energy projects.

Many metal fabrication and design workshops in the Kwinana and Rockingham industrial areas have struggled in recent years, with many contracts going to offshore firms.

But Mr. Smith said while funding was welcome, there would be better results if the Government completed rigorous “accountability and transparency” processes for local content used by the mining and energy companies.

“The mechanisms that facilitate the creation of work and therefore jobs, and that create domestic demand to halt the decline of the industry, require urgent rigorous processes,” he said.

“Initiatives such as minor funding and a further review of the already comprehensively reviewed Industry Capability Network of WA, which has been reviewed three times in three years, do not have the speed required at this time.”

A spokesman for WA Jobs from WA Resources campaign said the funding was boost for local groups and a “small step in the right direction.”

Mr. O’Brien said the local engineering and design industry was internationally competitive and there were many advantages to using local expertise.

“I will be signaling to oil gas proponents that use of the local engineering and design industry is a priority,” he said.