Margaret Quirk

Margaret Quirk

Minister for Corrective Services; Small Business

    WA hopes for positive outcome from Randall Inquiry.

    11/09/2007 8:41 PM
     
    11/9/07

    Small Business Minister Margaret Quirk is hoping for a favourable outcome from the Federal Parliament’s Randall Inquiry into temporary skilled migration which is due out tomorrow.

    Ms Quirk said the Randall Inquiry had been reviewing the use of 457 visas to bring in foreign skilled employees to fill the shortage of local workers.

    “Ideally this report will make recommendations in the interests of the long-term future of the nation, rather than the short-term political interest of the Federal Liberal Party and its re-election hopes,” Ms Quirk said.

    “I expect the recommendations of this much anticipated report to fill the policy vacuum created by Federal Immigration Minister Kevin Andrews.”

    Ms Quirk said that one of the changes she would like to see was the definition of a ‘regional area’ under the temporary migration scheme.

    “One of the submissions we made to the inquiry back in March this year was that Perth should be included in the definition of ‘regional area’, as Adelaide, Hobart and Darwin are, so that we are not disadvantaged when people apply for a 457 visa,” Ms Quirk said.

    “As a State Government, we are very supportive of skilled migration programs, provided adequate protections and procedures are in place for both employers and employees,” Ms Quirk said.

    “We also recommended that employers in regional and remote areas be encouraged to exhaust local resources, including indigenous and long-term unemployed people, before looking for workers from overseas.

    “A recent report by the Western Australian Department of Education and Training estimated that an additional 180, 000 skilled workers will be required in Western Australia over the next 10 years.

    “We need more workers as the skills shortage is set to remain a feature of the labour market due to the continued strength of the economy and our ageing workforce, but they must not be put ahead of local labour and must not be exploited.

    “We also called for the inquiry to review the process of compliance monitoring, as concerns had been raised that the federal departments responsible for checking up on workers and their bosses were not adequately resourced.

    “We look forward to the inquiry’s report.”

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