So much has happened since I last penned a CEO’s column for Discovery that it’s hard to believe that was only a month or so ago.
Last week I was fortunate enough to be part of a CME delegation that hosted some of the State’s first-time MPs on a tour of key member facilities in WA’s Pilbara. The trip took in major operational sites for member companies Woodside, Yara Pilbara, Rio Tinto, FMG and BHP and provided these MPs with a very important up-close look at how mining and resources projects function, and also how a significant portion of WA Government revenue is generated.
Given the opportunities and challenges faced by mining and resources operators – notably around present and future skills shortages – it’s imperative that MPs based outside of mining regions get the best possible understanding of our sector.
On the topic of skills, the re-scheduled WA Skills Summit is another event which has passed since I last wrote to you. The Summit marked an excellent opportunity for a wide range of industries to discuss the current skills situation with government and other stakeholders, and to raise possible avenues that will help ensure the skilled workers of both the near and more long-term futures are available to industry when they are most needed.
You may have read in the media about some of the work CME is doing to investigate the feasibility of a North West quarantine hub that would help allow for the safe passage of skilled overseas workers into WA.
This month has also seen the publication of CME’s submission – and those of numerous member companies – to the Parliamentary Inquiry Into Sexual Harassment Against Women In the FIFO Industry. We are still yet to ascertain exact timelines for how the Inquiry will progress but CME will keep member companies updated as more details come to hand.
August, of course, has been another month in which COVID-19 has continued to impact much of the country. While the situation has improved in South Australia and is improving in Queensland, the lockdown continues in New South Wales and Victoria is now also in the midst of its sixth lockdown since the pandemic started.
My thoughts, and those of everyone at CME, are with anyone who has friends or family in any of the areas that have been significantly affected by COVID-19. I know there will be thousands of people working in our sector who are currently unable to physically see some of the people in their lives who are nearest and dearest to them.
As has been stated often in recent months, uptake of vaccinations is the clearest route to restrictions being relaxed and more of a sense of normalcy returning to all Australian lives. With this in mind, it’s encouraging to see a couple of CME member companies in Rio Tinto and BHP rolling out trial vaccination hubs in conjunction with health authorities.
Our stated position has always been that the WA mining and resources sector stands ready to help with the vaccination rollout in any way that it can. Hopefully these trial hubs are the start of an even bigger involvement in the future.
One final note – later this month, a CME team that includes myself, our Director of Policy and Advocacy, Rob Carruthers, and our Senior Adviser – Environment & Sustainability, Kira Sorensen, will be taking part in the Perth-Laverton Cycling Classic. It promises to be a great adventure and also supports a very worthy cause. For more details on the event and how you can support it, visit our team page.