She spoke to a packed room at Burswood on the opening of the three-day conference.
Gillard claimed that education should be the “No.1 issue keeping miners awake at night”
She said higher school standards would make Australia a leader in the “Asian century”
“That’s the race we’re in – a race to win or lose,” Gillard said.
“You want skills in Australia and I want working Australians with skills.”
She said China’s rapid growth and the rise of India would benefit Australia for decades.
“Reports of the mining boom’s death have been greatly exaggerated,” she said.
Gillard said the boom was actually three booms: the first being a price boom, which had already eased; the second was an investment boom, which was yet to peak; and the third was the production boom, which would last for decades.
Gillard never mentioned the controversial Minerals Resource Rent Tax, despite AMEC being one of the most vocal opponents to the legislation.
The PM left without taking questions from the audience or media.
This article first appeared in ILN's sister publication MiningNews.net.