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The newly established Australian Minerals and Energy Skills Alliance (AUSMESA) is looking at ways to relieve labour shortages in the mining and resources sector as one of its first priorities.

AUMESA was established earlier this week as part of the federal government’s A$402-million investment over the next four years to establish the Jobs and Skills Councils (JSCs) to address skills shortages and broader workforce challenges.

Formerly known as Industry Clusters, the new JSCs will have a strong connection to Jobs and Skills Australia, aligning with the Australian Government’s vision for new industry engagement arrangements.

Led by industry, the JSCs will bring all parties to the table to find solutions to the workforce challenges and skills needs currently facing industry sectors across Australia. This commitment to tripartite leadership will bring together employers and unions that work in partnership with governments and the training sector.

AUSMESA CEO Dr Gavin Lind said skills in the mining sector would be a major focus over coming months as it was the most significant contributor to the nation’s jobs, exports, revenue and lower emissions targets.

“The Australian government’s A$402-million JSC announcement will enable us to will bring all parties to the table to find solutions to the workforce challenges and skills needs facing the mining sector across Australia,” Lind said.

“We will work with industry and in partnership with Jobs and Skills Australia (JSA) to align workforce planning for the sector and determine job roles, skills needs and training pathways, combining industry-specific intelligence with JSA’s forecasting and modelling.

“The strength of Australia’s resources sector is critical to our nation’s economic, social and environmental future and our work will be crucial in making sure industry has the right workers with the right skills that Australia needs.”

Pointing to recently released data by the Australian Bureau of Statistics, Lind noted that Australia’s mining sector has the greatest proportion of vacant positions as the skills crunch hits a new record high.

The new figures suggest 5.2% of jobs in the mining sector were vacant in the three months to September, an increase from 3.3% in the March quarter of 2020.