Freeing up trade workers

June 13, 2018

Federal Small Business Minister Craig Laundy, Member for Murray Damian Drum and Crowe Constructions managing director Mick Ciavarella speak with a worker at the construction site of the Trades and Skills Centre at McGuire College, Shepparton.

Workers may soon be recruited from interstate to fill an emerging trade skill shortage in regional areas such as Shepparton.

Federal Small Business Minister Craig Laundy was in Shepparton with Member for Murray Damian Drum yesterday to speak with businesses about the unique challenges they face.

‘‘The economies in NSW and Victoria are moving well, so well that in regions like Shepparton you get skill shortages,’’ Mr Laundy said.

In last year’s budget, the Federal Government offered states a fund of up to $300million to fix cross-border issues, such as free movement between states for trade workers.

‘‘If there is a skill shortage here in Shepparton, and Perth is battling as an economy, we can get tradies to come across the border,’’ Mr Laundy said.

Crow Constructions managing director Mick Ciavarella is working on the construction of the Goulburn Murray Trade Skills Centre and expressed frustration at regulations slowing down construction.

‘‘There are lots of challenges,’’ Mr Ciavarella said.

The centre was due to be completed this month, but it is still being fitted out.

‘‘When you’re trying to put buildings like this into place and you can’t give them power, well, you’ve got a problem,’’ Mr Ciavarella said.

Mr Ciavarella said there had even been times where construction was completely finished, but regulations stopped handover.

Alex Linton is an RMIT journalism undergraduate completing an internship at The News.

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