Abbott to open floodgates on foreign workers

The Abbott Government will make it easier for the offshore oil and gas industry to use foreign workers and deprive Australians of jobs in the resources industry.

Media reports indicate Assistant Immigration Minister Michaelia Cash will announce details of the plan at an Australian Mines and Metals Association (AMMA) conference in Perth today.

MUA WA Secretary Christy Cain said the move was not in the national interest.

“How is it in the national interest for the Abbott Government to take away unemployment benefits from young Australians, tell them they need to move across the country to find work, then stack the odds against them by bringing in thousands of foreign workers,” Mr Cain said.

“And how is the whole of Australia supposed to benefit from projects like Gorgon if they are built by foreign workers and the salaries head overseas?

“This is a move that might be in the interests of employers and their shareholders, but it certainly isn’t in the national interest.”

Mr Cain said the real reason for AMMA’s campaign against the MUA and its members had now been revealed.

“For 18 months, AMMA has been engaged in a campaign to misrepresent the wages and conditions of maritime workers and the Abbott Government has fallen for it,” he said.

“BIS Shrapnel and University of Sydney research have confirmed that maritime wages make up less than one per cent of the cost of building projects like Gorgon.  Even the CEO of Chevron doesn’t blame unions for cost problems on Gorgon.

“AMMA have hoodwinked the Abbott Government into implementing a policy that will cost Australian jobs, while delivering no real improvements to the competiveness of the LNG industry.”

“The MUA will do whatever it takes to stop these changes going ahead and we are confident all Australians will fight to ensure their kids can have jobs in their own country.”