Skills shortfall on horizon
FEARS of a looming skills shortage in Townsville have been supported by analysis showing projects under way or starting within the next 18 months will create more than 4700 jobs.
Economist Colin Dwyer has provided the analysis which shows if additional “potential” projects such as Adani’s Carmichael mine and Boston Energy and Innovation’s battery factory proceed, a further 4800 jobs will be created.
Mr Dwyer said he didn’t think the region was prepared for such a rapid turnaround from its current position of high unemployment.
“We need to plan to revitalise our city’s skills base,” he said
Townsville Chamber of Commerce has provided a similar call to action and yesterday board member Michael Kopittke criticised Labor federal MP Cathy O’Toole for telling Parliament this week the city needed more support and had one of the highest small business insolvency rates in Australia. “We are past that. We don’t have time for political pointscoring. We are forging ahead,” Mr Kopittke said.
Mr Kopittke said the city’s leaders needed to do their utmost to work with the state and federal governments to ensure the smoothest transition for business Townsville economy.
“We really have to work hard and get the business community on board so we can minimise the issues and take advantage of all the opportunities,” Mr Kopittke said.
Mr Dwyer’s research had ident- and the ified 41 projects providing 9600 jobs. Of the projects, he said 27 were under way or committed and set to start within 18 months. Another 14 projects were listed as potential with a start in the next two years.
Human Capital managing director Clayton Cook said most of the 4700 jobs in the committed projects would be in construction, while jobs in potential projects included mining, manufacturing and retail.
“Although the unemployment rate for the region is high we are already seeing increased examples of skills shortages in a range of occupations and industries,” Mr Cook said.
“As more projects start, this issue will get worse and the lack of supply of quality skills will see pressure on wage growth and staff turnover.”
Ms O’Toole said she understood the need to address workforce issues but would not resile from telling federal Parliament about the tough times in the city.
In her parliamentary speech, she criticised the Turnbull Government for providing no funding for Townsville from its Northern Australia Infrastructure Facility, the lack of access for Townsville for its water infrastructure development fund and claimed spending on commitments to the Bruce Highway was not meeting what was promised.