House debates

Wednesday, 19 June 2013

Questions without Notice


2:34 pm

Photo of Brendan O'ConnorBrendan O'Connor (Gorton, Australian Labor Party, Minister for Immigration and Citizenship) Share this | Hansard source

I thank the member for Werriwa for his question. He, of course, cares about ensuring that young people and unemployed Australians in his electorate get an opportunity, and that is why we need to reform the 457 visa scheme. It has been identified that there are deficiencies in the scheme that would ensure that, if we were not to reform this scheme, there will be Australians that miss out on jobs.

This government will not allow that to happen. For that reason, we announced the reforms that are before the parliament to ensure that those deficiencies in the current scheme will be fixed, so that employers look locally first. We can have a discussion and a debate about this—and there will be attempts by those opposite to deflect and distract on things that are not relevant to the debate—but, when it all boils down to it, this comes down to whether employers look locally first.

It is this government's view that the very important temporary skilled scheme should be used, but it should be used when there are legitimate shortages in our economy. For that reason, the reforms will not be going to capping the scheme; they will be based on the legitimate shortages wherever they exist in the labour market. They will have to ensure that the skills shortages are legitimate and needed, and that can only be done by testing the market—


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