The State Government has sought to boost local content in major government projects through its recently passed WA Jobs Act. It is set to introduce the Skilled Local Jobs Bill into Parliament soon, which is designed to boost local content in major industry projects. These are great initiatives that we have long campaigned for.
However, the challenge in assessing the level of local content in a project is that some local industry participation delivers greater jobs and skills development benefits than others. For example, clearing the land for new plant and equipment doesn’t deliver as many benefits as its engineering, design and fabrication.
These distinctions get lost in an approach to local content calculations and reporting that uses the monetary value of a contract as the ‘unit’ of local content.
To ensure we maximise local economic benefits, we are calling on the State Government to
look much more closely at the number of jobs created, and the broader benefits to the WA economy from skills development, in the assessment of local content. The WA Jobs Act should be amended to reflect this, and the Skilled Local Jobs Bill should incorporate this approach from the start.