Mission to save NT gas jobs

JOB HUNT: The NT Government has announced a $200,000 program to try and rescue jobs lost from the massive gas plant layoffs in Darwin.
JOB HUNT: The NT Government has announced a $200,000 program to try and rescue jobs lost from the massive gas plant layoffs in Darwin.

THE Northern Territory Government has launched a rescue mission to save some of the 600-800 jobs lost at the monster Ichthys project at Darwin.

The government has allocated $200,000 towards re-skilling 300 local workers affected by the commercial dispute between Laing O’Rourke and Kawasaki Heavy Industries at the Ichthys LNG Project, Chief Minister Michael Gunner announced this afternoon.

Mr Gunner said the NT Government had been working closely with the Federal Government, Inpex, JKC, sub-contractor companies involved and unions since news broke of the dispute last week to ensure the local workers affected are protected and supported.

“We put Territorians first and have been working hard to support these 300 workers to find new jobs,” Mr Gunner said.

“Last week I spoke to executives from Laing O’Rourke and Kawasaki Heavy Industries to make it very clear that the NT Government is concerned about the future of these Territorians.

“We’ve also been working with Apprenticeship Australia NT to support the transition for the 35 apprentices working on this project, assisting them to review their pathway and to look forward at where they might complete their apprenticeship.”

To further back the 300 workers, the Territory Labor Government is:

Allocating $200,000 towards reskilling those affected by the dispute who may need skills upgrades or re-skilling for new technology, equipment or processes to find other work.

Working with the workers to get them registered on the Territory Worker Database. This database allows a worker to upload their CV and that can be seen by industry people looking for skilled workers.

Working with the Federal Government to bring the 300 workers together with all of the relevant support and service agencies at information sessions this week in Palmerston.

Continuing to talk to Laing O’Rourke and Kawasaki to see work resume.

“One of the ways we are working to restore trust in Government is by creating jobs and we are determined to assist those Territory families affected by this commercial dispute,” Mr Gunner said.

“Late last year we fast-tracked $120 million worth of infrastructure projects that we will be ramping up over the coming months and will provide new opportunities for these workers.”

Mr Gunner said Government is working hard to have solid plans in place to support Territory workers as construction progresses at the Ichthys LNG Project.

“During their four years of chaos and dysfunction, the CLP didn’t plan for this phase – it was another in a long list of economic failures by them,” he said.

Unions have slammed the sacking of at least 640 workers employed on the Northern Territory’s biggest project.

The Australian Manufacturing Workers’ Union said the companies involved in the Ichthys project venture were behind Laing O’Rourke’s sacking of 640 workers.

Laing O’Rourke took the decision to demobilise the site.

The decision comes on top of earlier contractual disputes involving UGL Kentz.

Construction giant Laing O'Rourke has pulled 800 contractors off the Ichthys LNG project in Darwin over a dispute with its joint venture partner, Japanese group Kawasaki Heavy Industries, the Australian Financial Review has reported.

The two companies have been constructing four cryogenic LNG tanks on the $48.9 billion project.

Meetings held in Japan in recent weeks have failed to resolve the issue and Laing O'Rourke has now taken action. 

Local Territory AMWU organiser, Lloyd Pumpa said that the mood amongst employees was one of disbelief, shock and anger.