City of Kalgoorlie-Boulder Statement
The City of Kalgoorlie-Boulder has a proud multicultural history, and is welcoming towards migrants.
According to the 2016 Census, around 25 per cent of people living in the City were born outside of Australia, and almost all of them are now proud Australian citizens. These migrants bring a wealth of skills, knowledge and have greatly contributed to the growth and development of Kalgoorlie-Boulder including the creation of businesses. In 2016, the Australian Bureau of Statistics reported that 1 in 3 owner or managers of small businesses were born overseas. The City is proud to represent a community with a rich cultural heritage, and our diversity leads to progression and maximises the City’s potential.
Skilled migration program in Australia has been introduced since the 1980s, and today about 70 per cent of permanent migrants were skilled stream migrants. The Designated Area Migration Agreement (DAMA) program aimed at attracting a skilled migrant worker into a regional city is another avenue for Kalgoorlie-Boulder to grow its economy and population. It is clear that more is needed to be done to attract people and migrants to pick a regional city like Kalgoorlie-Boulder, as most people prefer to live in metro areas, unless there is an incentive. DAMA enables Goldfields employers sponsor skilled overseas workers in the areas that are experiencing skills and labour shortages. Allowing employers to access certain flexibilities that are currently unavailable under the standard temporary and permanent visa programs to attract and retain skilled workers to form a stable residential workforce.
The City along with the Shires of Coolgardie, Leonora and Menzies, are working tirelessly with the support of the Chamber of Minerals and Energy Western Australia, Kalgoorlie-Boulder Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KBCCI), and Regional Development Australia Goldfields-Esperance, to attract Australian workers to the Goldfields region over the last few years with minimal success. Kalgoorlie Boulder Chamber of Commerce and Industry held a Kal Job Expo in March 2018, promoting over 1,000 job vacancies ready to be filled by the 1,000 jobseekers who attended the Expo. However, only 30 families moved to the Goldfields after securing positions through the Expo. This is a good outcome from the Expo, but a lot more is needed if the City is to transform into a more economically diverse powerhouse, and address labour shortages in the long term.
A Fly-in, Fly-out workforce is not a solution to supplement skilled labour shortages, as the City’s preferred option is a residential workforce. A residential workforce will help grow the City’s population aspiration to 40,000 by 2030, provide a long-term stability to businesses and enable businesses growth. The Department of Training and Workforce Development recent labour market report estimated that around 334 (or 51 per cent) out of the 648 jobs listed on Seek for the Goldfields-Esperance region in October 2017 are mining related. Impact modelling undertaken using REMPLAN Economy estimates that if 334 jobs in a mining related field were filled today, then this would support a further 234 jobs in supply-chain sectors and 171 in consumption related activity. That is, for every direct job created in mining related sectors, a further 2 jobs are supported in the broader local economy once flow-on supply-chain and consumption effects are taken into consideration. Today there is over 480 mining related jobs out of the 800 jobs advertised for the Goldfields-Esperance region on Seek.
Why do we need DAMA for the Goldfields region?
- The population in Kalgoorlie-Boulder is slowly declining, from a peak of 33,267 in 2013 to 30,579 in 2017.
- There is now increasing competition for skilled workers within the Goldfields region, and from other regional cities around Western Australia because of new mines and increasing commodity prices.
- We are also competing for skilled workers with Perth’s $1.1 billion Metronet project, and interstate cities who are also constructing and upgrading $30 plus billion worth of major infrastructure and rail projects.
- With the National Disability Insurance Scheme rollout, it was estimated that the Goldfields-Esperance region would have 275 direct and indirect jobs by 2019-20.
- In January 2018, it was estimated around 318 children were on the waiting list for full-time and part-time care because there is not enough childcare workers in Kalgoorlie-Boulder.
- More skilled labour workers are needed to increase apprenticeship and traineeship, including Aboriginal traineeship, intakes. We need more skilled workers to be able to train more apprentices, trainees, and upskill young people and local workforce in the Goldfields region.
Introducing DAMA will not stop the City from collectively working on attracting Australians from other cities to come and live in Kalgoorlie-Boulder. The City strongly supports residential workforce, and will achieve this by implementing priority initiatives identified in the Kalgoorlie-Boulder Growth Plan.