Albemarle insists it employs locals

Stuart McGuckin and Jacinta CantatoreHarvey-Waroona Reporter
Albemarle Vice President of Lithium David Klanecky
Camera IconAlbemarle Vice President of Lithium David Klanecky

Albemarle has reaffirmed its commitment to create South West jobs despite concerns contractors have brought workers temporarily to the region to construct the company’s Kemerton plant.

A spokesman for the company said it continued to comply with the Australian Jobs Act.

“Early contract awards for the Kemerton Lithium Project have included some of WA’s well-known local construction and fabricating companies,” he said.

“The Kemerton Lithium Project formally commenced construction in late March and given the complexity of the construction and commissioning, it will require a range of skills and capabilities over coming months and years.”

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Harvey shire president Tania Jackson said she was aware the company had been looking for accommodation for external staff.

“Whether that is to do with expertise, I am not sure,” Cr Jackson said.

“Clearly there is a specific skill-set required for this project.

“With that in mind, I would hope that in our area we would be given first offer on those jobs.”

BGC has operated as the earthworks contractor on-site since January while Civmec has been tasked with playing a key role in fabrication of the plant.

Australian Manufacturing Worker’s Union State secretary Steve McCartney said Albemarle refuses to talk to the union.

“They’re already bringing labour down from Perth and there is no local labour doing the earthworks now,” he said.

“Where are the local jobs and where is the local manufacturing?

“They’re reneging on local jobs and they’ve reneged on talking to unions to get a decent agreement there — is there one thing they will live up to?”

He said the union would continue with its campaign to hold the company to account.

Bunbury MLA Don Punch said rather than operate on speculation he contacted Albemarle and was waiting for a response about the level of South West contracting.

“In my view Albemarle had given a clear undertaking through their communications that it would be supporting local content,” he said.

“I do know that some contracts have come out of the area, but other contractors have spoken to me about missing out.

“We’ve welcomed Albemarle with open arms and there is a social licence in terms of operating and working in the region, we expect the benefits should flow from Albemarle back into the region.”

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