Analysis by Peter Roberts.
We hear daily about the focus of politicians on jobs, but there is little evidence they take action in engineering , the most important job creator in this time of infrastructure.
It should work like it did in the very first phase of LNG developments in WA.
First local engineers are chosen to specify the plant to be built.
Then tenders are called where local firms can bid on locally written specs. A virtuous cycle of industry building ensued.
But after the first flurry on the shelf, global giants were allowed to use foreign engineers. So Bechtel did the engineering in Houston for Wheatsone LNG, with little local work resulting.
Local work was mostly civil engineering such as roads and drainage, and accommodation.
History is repeating itself in WA according to the local newspaper, with Woodside’s award of engineering contracts to Bechtel and KBR.
As the west notes: “Design done overseas could drive lower local content in construction as engineers are more likely to specify equipment not available in Australia.”
If we are serious about jobs we need to start where work opportunities are created in the early, engineering phases.
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