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Parliamentary Questions

Question Without Notice No. 698 asked in the Legislative Council on 28 August 2018 by Hon Robin Scott

Minister responding: Hon M. McGowan
Parliament: 40 Session: 1

Answered on

JOBS — LNG PROJECTS

698. Hon ROBIN SCOTT to the minister representing the Minister for State Development, Jobs and Trade:

(1) Has the Minister for State Development, Jobs and Trade taken note of a report on page 1 of The West Australian of Tuesday, 28 August 2018, which commences with ''WA is on the cusp of a $9 billion-a-year jobs bonanza servicing Australia's vast LNG projects as an alliance of energy giants bids to make Perth the southern hemisphere's version of Aberdeen, Doha and Houston''?

(2) Can the minister confirm that Western Australia's Agent General in London has been instructed to persuade multinational engineering companies to make Perth their southern headquarters?

(3) What is the government doing to ensure that these LNG jobs, instead of going to imported foreign workers, will be filled by Western Australians who are trained and prepared with the right skills?

(4) Will the government urgently subsidise apprenticeships?

(5) Will the government restore the payroll tax exemption for traineeships and apprenticeships?

(6) Instead of trying to boost the population of Perth, will the government take the wiser course of encouraging major international companies to establish their southern headquarters in Broome, Port Hedland or Karratha?

Hon ALANNAH MacTIERNAN replied:

I thank the member for the question. The following information has been provided by the Minister for State Development, Jobs and Trade.

(1)–(2) Yes.

(3) I draw the member's attention to an array of policies this government has put in place to put Western Australian jobs first, whether it is the Western Australian Jobs Act or reducing the WA skilled migration list from 178 occupations in 2016 to 18 positions in 2017.

(4) The state government guarantees to subsidise all apprentices and new worker trainees. In 2017, the state government provided approximately $100 million to support training for apprentices and trainees. In addition, the state government provides travel allowance and accommodation of approximately $2.3 million per annum for apprentices to undertake off-the-job training. The state government also provides around $3 million per annum in incentives for group training organisations taking on apprentices and trainees.

(5) I assume the member is referring to the measures in the Payroll Tax Assessment Amendment (Exemption for Trainees) Act 2018, which did not affect payroll tax exemptions for apprentices. This legislation seeks to shut down systemic and widespread abuse of the payroll tax exemption for trainees perpetrated by a small number of training companies by limiting the exemption to trainees who are new employees earning less than $100 000 per annum. Savings realised by this measure will be used to fund around 43 350 training places over the same period, partially offsetting the shortfall in funding created by changes to funding arrangements of the commonwealth government.

(6) The government expects both metropolitan and regional WA to benefit from this initiative of the McGowan Labor government.