House debates

Monday, 24 June 2013


Migration Amendment (Temporary Sponsored Visas) Bill 2013; Second Reading

7:31 pm

Photo of Steve GeorganasSteve Georganas (Hindmarsh, Australian Labor Party) Share this | Hansard source

I rise to support the Migration Amendment (Temporary Sponsored Visas) Bill 2013. I do so because I think this bill is common sense and good legislation. I say that because all of us in this place have had to face mums and dads and people who have come to see us in our electorate offices talking to us about their children who perhaps are unemployed or struggling to find work. We have heard about cases of people who have degrees, finished certain technical schools, their apprenticeships completed and are still looking for work.

This bill ensures that we in this place as legislators and members of parliament do all that we can to ensure that people who are unemployed for whatever reason and people who are fresh out of school or trade centres are given every single opportunity and every single chance to be employed.

Of course, there will be a requirement for 457 visas. There are many occupations that cannot be filled. I just heard the member for Parkes talk about nurses and medical staff. There is a shortage in many areas where we need to fill those skills, and the only way we can do so is by bringing people in from overseas.

I chaired the health and ageing committee inquiry into overseas-trained doctors. There we saw firsthand many areas around the country where they just could not get medical doctors and medical staff. Of course, in those situations they are granted the 457 visas—and so they should be, just like any other industry or any other employer who has tried all that they can to employ locally.

This legislation is good legislation, and I think the majority of Australians would support it. It talks about ensuring that we employ locally, that we employ local people were the positions can be filled and, if they cannot be filled, that is fine. No-one is putting a stop to the 457 visas. No-one is saying to industry out there that they are not to employ anyone from overseas. All it is asking them for is the requirement that they have done all that is possible to employ someone locally or someone who is unemployed and looking for work here in Australia. I do not think that is unreasonable. I do not think for one moment that that it is unreasonable.

As I said earlier, I have faced mums and dads every week who come into my electorate office to tell me that they have an unemployed son or daughter who has been seeking work and cannot get work. Sometimes, they may not be suitable for the particular positions that they are applying for, but I think it is very reasonable and sensible that an employer shows that they have done all they can to employ locally and to employ someone from their particular region or from their particular city.

As I said, there are skill shortages in Australia. There have been skill shortages for sometime now. We have the booming mining industry that is sucking tradespeople into the mining industry. It astounds me to hear those opposite talk about the skills shortages when for 11 years, whilst they were in government, they did absolutely nothing to ensure that we train people to fill those skill shortages.

We know that there are now more trades training places. Just about every secondary school in my electorate is training people to learn skills, and I have some great schools within my electorate. We hope that in the future we will be able to fill those shortages that we face today with our locally trained people. We need to train our people here to ensure that we can fill those positions.

I know that this legislation looks at ensuring that employers do all that they can to employ people locally, but I would go a step further. If you do want a 457 visa, you should employ a couple of apprentices as well to ensure that you are securing the future for your industry. That would be very reasonable. That is something you would want to do if you are a business: to employ people in apprenticeships so you can fill the shortages that you can perhaps see in the future. That is why I think it is sensible legislation and I will be supporting it as this side of the House has, of course, proposed it.

As I said, I think most people can see that this is sensible legislation and that all it is asking is that employers do whatever they can to employ locally; and, if they cannot, that is fine. No one is saying you cannot have a 457 visa. I think that is reasonable. When I speak to parents and I look them in the eye and they tell me that they have children who are unemployed, I want to know that the legislation that we put in this place does everything possible and everything within our means to ensure that we employ people here in this country who are unemployed.


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