Call to fill mining jobs with refugees

One of Australia's top businesswomen says refugees should help fill empty jobs in the mining industry.

Speaking at the start of International Refugee Week, The Sunday Times reports Janet Holmes a Court said Australia needed to start having a more informed debate about asylum seekers.

She also said instead of being detained in detention centres refugees should be used to help fill vacancies in the resources industry.

"It's astounding in a time when we have labour shortages and skills shortages that there are people in detention centres," she said.

"If they have skills, why not use them? They would be so willing to work and so grateful for the opportunity."

The idea is the latest in the growing trend of looking toward alternative sources of labour to solve the skills shortage in the mining industry.

The Federal Government has already started looking to the United States to fill vacancies, and has developed a new jobs board to ensure Australians are given the first chance to fill empty positions.

Earlier this month Queensland MP Bob Katter and Atlas Iron executive chairman David Flanagan said unemployed people should also be encouraged to apply for mining jobs.

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