The WA Nationals will levy resource projects to make major resource companies pay for industry training such as apprenticeships and accreditation, if they regain the balance of power at next month's election.

The money raised will go towards the Construction Industry Training Fund which is currently part-funded by a 0.2 per cent levy on all construction projects valued over $20,000 in WA.

The plan is aimed at shoring up the numbers of skilled workers who are currently abandoning the construction industry in droves to work on lucrative mining contracts in the State's north.

"If the mining sector is taking advantage of young people that are trained up, skilled up by somebody else, … I think it's fair they contribute to the construction industry training fund," Nationals leader Brendon Grylls said in Albany this morning.

"There is no doubt the mining sector spends a lot of money on training, but there is also no doubt the mining sector is the beneficiary of a lot of training done by people other than themselves."

But he would not say what percentage of the mining sector's potentially multi-billion dollar projects would be levied by the government.

The party would consult with industry before setting the levy, Mr Grylls said.

The proposal was first raised at a forum with industry about eight months ago, Mr Grylls said.

He said the suggestion had already been rejected by some industry figures.

"Those in the resources industry give you the feedback we already do this, so we shouldn't have to pay the levy. The Nationals don't agree with that," Mr Grylls said.

In response to fears the cost of the levy could stop major resources projects getting off the ground, he said: "I think you need to compare, what is the greatest risk to the resources sector in Western Australia - a lack of skill that allow them to actually build the projects, or the cost of paying for the skills. At the moment I think the biggest risk is a lack of skills into the future. This is about investing in skills."

The West Australian

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