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Australia still needs "tens of thousands of people"

Several trade bodies in Australia have reacted to the announcement today by Chris Evans, Immigration Minister, that there will be significant changes to the governments skilled migration programme in the year ahead.

The Chief Executive of the Australian Mines and Metals Association, Steve Knott, says there is a massive shortfall of mechanical and electrical staff - and chefs.

"The boom in the resources sector, particularly in the North West of Western Australia, has been quite strong so we welcome the decision that has been made."

"We need the people on the job now and the demand going forward will be even greater as these projects get off the ground."

Mr Knott says it is hard to put an exact number on the estimate of skilled workers needed.

"Well, what we do know is that the Gorgon project is going ahead, we know the Pluto project's onfoot now with Woodside, we're hearing about massive construction plans in Queensland with coal exports to China that were announced on the weekend, so we are talking tens of thousands of people here that will be required in the years ahead."

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