Western Australia is said to spend around Aus$600,000 to attract workers to answer the chronic worker shortages, Perthnow reported early last month. Some of the workers needed for this current call include school cleaners, gardeners and tourism tourism workers. In the Philippines, these workers might not be given that attention unless you are profession is one of the most treasured export of the country.
Little known to others–maybe even to Filipino government officials–there’s been an increasing number of skilled and professional workers coming here in Western Australia answering not only the first call mentioned in this article but some of the “neglected” trades in WA. The common trend is the most of the citizen here in WA, because of the mining boom, are opting to take a job in the mining industry even for a few weeks. One mining contractual told me that what he can earn for a month in another job in the city is just a fortnight (two weeks) in the mines.
The “neglected trades” include welders, linesman, engineers, carpenters, plumbers among others. I was so glad to know a Filipino welder having a good life here with his family. Compare this to the stereotype living standard of welders anywhere in the Philippines–who would think that a “common welder” will be able to purchase a 1999 Mitsubishi Super Saloon (maybe if you’re the owner?)?
The booming economy of Western Australia saw many of its young citizens opting to pursue a career in mining instead of pursuing a university degree. Some of the result here include the seemingly many than usual Asian doctors serving most of the hospitals here.
While there are success stories, there are also some stories of vulnerability. This story from the Australian Workers Union became a talk among Filipinos here. It showed that despite Australia’s advancement in labor laws, human rights among others, there are still others who would still try to taunt the system and claim the profits. It was fortunate for these Pinoys that Prime Minister Kevin Rudd was visiting the off shore oil rig and they were able to “personally” tell their story.
No word from what the Philippine Consulate is doing to assist our kababayans but it was good that the Australian government moved to investigate this matter and punish the culprits. Now, back to the new heroes filling in the shoes for the “neglected trades” here in WA. For my Pinoy readers, have you ever seen a linesman from Meralco recently? Are there many welders within your community? If you haven’t seen one lately, they are coming here to WA in hordes, so don’t be surprised when a storm comes to anywhere in the Philippines, there will just be not enough linesman to answer that call.