Encouraging young Australians to pursue technical and trade careers in the resources and energy sector is critical to the nation’s ongoing prosperity, Minister for Resources, Water and Northern Australia Keith Pitt has told an industry podcast.
Speaking on the AMMA Resource People Podcast, Minister Pitt explained why he spends “every day, hour and minute” promoting the sector’s diverse and rewarding careers.
“I’m really passionate about getting more Australian kids into jobs particularly in the resources sector,” Minister Pitt told podcast host Tara Diamond.
“The Commonwealth’s strategy is to make sure that more kids are in jobs and the Australian workforce is out there filling the opportunities we have right now. At the moment, the world’s their oyster; there is a lot of technical and skilled jobs that need to be filled.”
Noting the transferable nature of science, technology, engineering and mathematics skills, Minister Pitt said a particular focus of the Commonwealth is on the secondary education system. He further drew links between low uptake in mining-related STEM studies and “well-funded”, “international activists”.
“We need more kids coming out with STEM and we need more with that science, physics and engineering type background, because that’s where the work is,” Minister Pitt said.
“So why aren’t kids putting their hands up? For some reason they’ve been told, indoctrinated or taught there is no future in the industry. That is complete nonsense.
“We should be out promoting what it means to work in the resources sector and have a good job that pays well. I’m passionate about making sure we get the facts on the table, the right message, and as a result get more people working in the sector. Right now, there is a shortfall.”
In the wide-ranging podcast, recorded just prior to the 2021 Federal Budget, Minister Pitt outlined the Government’s plans to support the sector’s continued growth, including the $20 million trade-focused Global Resources Strategy initiative, and an additional $100 million in tax incentives to stimulate the junior exploration market.
“These types of investments are long-term investments that will make a real difference to the future. Our forecasts show increased demand out to about 2030, particularly from South East Asia,” he said.
“That’s good for Australia. We’re positioned well, we have a quality product, we’re very efficient in the way we deliver that product and we’re competitive in markets.”
Minister Pitt also acknowledged the “hard-working men and women” who maintained Australia’s resources and energy export supply chain throughout the enormous global disruptions of COVID-19.
“It didn’t happen by accident. I am just so appreciative of the work they’ve done and the commitments they’ve made. They should be proud of their industry and they have got every right to be proud of it.”
Resource People Podcast was launched in 2020 by AMMA to a global audience. The new episode with Minister for Resources, Water and Northern Australia, Keith Pitt, is available now on Soundcloud and via the AMMA website.