by Sam Flanagan
THE Federal Governments decision to abolish the Subclass 457 Visa and create a new temporary visa targeted towards critical skills shortages has been backed by Member for Maranoa David Littleproud.
MP Littleproud said the move will safeguard Australian jobs and is a step in the right direction.
"This will ensure Australian workers are given the absolute first 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," Mr Littleproud said.
"In my electorate, there are some jobs - like doctors and abattoir workers in rural and remote areas - which have historically been very difficult to fill locally.
"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."
Mr Littleproud also said that tightening unemployment benefits could compliment the visa change, with many areas in desperate need of workers.
"I have rural and remote communities crying out for skilled workers so my message is this: limit welfare to those skilled workers who won't relocate to the regions to take up a job."
General Manager of Oakey Beef Exports, Pat Gleeson, said his company hired 30 people through the 457 visa program 10 years ago, and 95% of those employees are still with the company.
Mr Gleeson said they are all for the employment of Australians, but echoed Mr Littleprouds sentiments and said we have to be more willing to do the work, otherwise businesses will turn to overseas workers.
"I absolutely agree with David's stance; we find it very frustrating, employment around here should be next to zero,” Mr Gleeson said.
"In Australia's industries there are a lot of people in the boat but not many rowing.
"As Australians we have to change our culture.”
Mr Gleeson noted that his company has always struggled in getting Australians through the gate, but is hopeful this move by the government will resolve the problem.