Clarification has come from Federal Member for Maranoa David Littleproud following calls from the Cattle Council for a Federal re-think on 457 visa changes.
“There are some jobs – like abattoir workers in rural and remote areas – which have historically been very difficult to fill locally and I want to make it clear that meat workers, who have been brought in on a labour agreement, won’t be affected by the 457 Visa reforms.”
Mr Littleproud comments come on the back of calls today from the Sheep Meat Council of Australia and the Cattle Council of Australia for a more considered approach to its proposal to abolish the 457-visa program to, as the industry bodies say to ‘mitigate the potentially detrimental flow-on effects to Australia’s red meat industry’.
The meat processing sector directly employs more than 200,000 people and is Australia’s significant employer in rural and regional areas and the industry says it has struggled to find domestic workers willing to undertake the processor related roles
But Mr Littleproud says they have nothing to be concerned about.
“I’ve been in constant contact with the Immigration Minister, Peter Dutton, on this issue as I know how important meat work operations are.”
“These changes will ensure Australian workers are given the absolute priority for jobs, while businesses will be able to temporarily access the critical skills they need to grow if skilled Australians workers are not available.”
“So, under our new scheme, businesses could still hire foreign workers to fill critical skill gaps, but not if it was simply easier than hiring an Australian.”