• Maintenance engineers are in short supply and demand is predicted to increase. (Steve Hitchen)
    Maintenance engineers are in short supply and demand is predicted to increase. (Steve Hitchen)

The Regional Aviation Association of Australia (RAAA) has called on the Federal Government to import aviation engineers to fill skills shortages in Australia.

In a letter dated 1 June welcoming new Minister for Infrastructure and Transport Catherine King to the portfolio, RAAA CEO Steve Campbell pointed to the previous government's identification of the need to accelerate policy regarding skills shortages in Australia.

"We are already in a critical skills shortage, in particular for aircraft maintenance engineers," Campbell said. "Whilst we do need to look at long term solutions to training processes, the RAAA would like to call on your government to immediately include Aircraft Maintenance Engineers (Australian Skills Classifications 323111, 323112, 323113) to the Priority Migration Skilled Occupation List (PMSOL), which is managed by the Minister for Immigration.

"We would like your assistance in ensuring this may occur."

"Aircraft Maintenance Engineers are already classified by the National Skills Commission as in 'national shortage with strong future demand'. Regional aviation suffers worst for skills shortages due to location and lack of ability to compete on salaries with the major airlines.

"Our members are currently accessing overseas workforces with limited success, but are being hampered by delays in processing visas which in most cases could be avoided if [engineers were] on the PMSOL."

The Labor Government has indicated its policy is to create a new aviation white paper, which has some aviation advocates concerned that the process will delay actions identified in the previous government's Aviation Recovery Framework as short-term priorities.

"Labor’s announcement of a White Paper to be developed is most welcome and the RAAA would like to ensure we are involved in this process as much as possible to ensure regional aviation receives the attention it deserves," Campbell said.

"We would also point to the previous government’s framework to recovery paper to accelerate some of the policy areas needing more urgent attention, such as skills."


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