Federal Labor attack on skilled migration threatens Queensland services and industry
Released on = November 22, 2006, 4:36 am
Press Release Author = Ryan Rebutica
Industry = Government
Press Release Summary = Federal Labor's attack on temporary skilled migrants could threaten government health services in Queensland as well as key private sector industries and hamper Australia's efforts to attract people with the skills Australia needs, Minister for Immigration and Multicultural Affairs Amanda Vanstone said today.
Press Release Body = Federal Labor's attack on temporary skilled migrants could threaten government health services in Queensland as well as key private sector industries and hamper Australia's efforts to attract people with the skills Australia needs, Minister for Immigration and Multicultural Affairs Amanda Vanstone said today.
The Minister delivered the warning as she prepared to speak at the Australian Industry Group's National Executive meeting this morning in Brisbane.
Later in the morning, the Minister will meet with an instructor from Guide Dogs Queensland, who came to Australia three years ago today as a temporary skilled migrant, before shifting to a permanent skilled visa.
'The Queensland Government, as with all other state and territory governments around the country, is a major user of temporary skilled migration, through the 457 visa,' the Minister said.
'The Queensland Government clearly recognises the benefits of the programme and is particularly using it to deliver health services to the community, including GPs, nurses, anaesthetists, dentists and physiotherapists.
'In 2005-06, the Queensland Government directly employed 10 per cent of the almost 6900 temporary skilled migrants - primary applicants - granted a visa based on employment in Queensland. Of the 680 primary applicants sponsored by the Government, more than 600 were in the health area.
'And in the first quarter of this financial year, Queensland Government use of the visa has increased significantly, accounting for 17 per cent per cent of the 2010 primary visa grants in the state.
'Across Queensland, industries from hospitality, mining and construction are also major users of temporary skilled migrants to help fill skills shortages and maintain the strong economic performance of the state.'
'Mr Beazley's constant denigration of skilled migration, however, risks sending a message to potential skilled migrants that they're not welcome here.
'Yet Mr Beazley continues to attack the programme, claiming it's about a "wages race to the bottom" implying that the visa is used in low wages industries.
'The reality is far from Beazley's bluster. The average salary of temporary skilled migrants in 2005-06 was $66,000 nationally and it has risen further in the first quarter of this financial year.
'It is clear to me that Mr Beazley's attacks are nothing more than an attempt to distract voters, in the lead up to an election, from the former government's disastrous management of the economy and training - a key contributor to the current skills shortage.
'There's a reason Mr Beazley is languishing as leader of the Labor Party. It's because he sounds hollow. The community doesn't believe what he says.
'Mr Beazley claims he will focus on training to fill skill shortages and accuses the Coalition of underspending on training. This is blatant nonsense. Nearly five times as many people are completing traineeships and apprenticeships under the Coalition compared to Labor.
'When Mr Beazley was minister responsible for training in the early 1990s, training declined.
'I call on Premier Beattie to take up this challenge; sit down with Mr Beazley and tell him directly how important skilled migration is to Queensland and explain the risks that Mr Beazley's negative campaign could have in attracting the skilled migrants Australia needs.'
Web Site = http://www.nationalvisas.com.au
Contact Details = National Visas Web site: http://www.nationalvisas.com.au Address: 3 - 118 Church Street Hawthorn, Victoria Australia 3122 Phone: +61 (0) 3 9697 4922 Fax: +61 (0) 3 9815 1544