The Australian Parliament has made the right decision in protecting Australian jobs by blocking the Abbott Government’s attempts to flood the offshore oil and gas sector with cheap foreign labour.
The Senate tonight voted to disallow the Federal Government from continuing to issue Maritime Crew (subclass 988) visas to foreign workers for the purposes of working in Australia’s offshore oil and gas industry.
All maritime unions – the Maritime Union of Australia (MUA), The Australian Maritime Officers Union (AMOU) and Australian Institute of Marine and Power Engineers (AIMPE) – opposed the Government’s regulations.
A petition calling on Australian Senators to vote against the Abbott Government’s move to water down visa regulations applying to foreign workers in the offshore sector gathered 12,000 signatures in recent days.
Assistant Minister for Immigration Michalia Cash chose to mislead the Senate and the Australian people in the Senate chamber tonight.
All of the Government’s bluff and bluster could be alleviated by proposing a new regulation, minus the MCV, immediately the disallowance was passed.
MUA National Secretary Paddy Crumlin said Maritime Crew Visas were never intended for use in the offshore resources industry.
“The Government are the ones who undermined the intent of the Gillard Government’s legislation by inserting an inappropriate class of visa,” Mr Crumlin said.
“If there is any chaos in the offshore sector in coming days it is entirely of the Government’s own making.
“The Government has tonight run up the false argument that highly specialized workers’ jobs will be placed at risk.
“All the Government needs to do is put up an appropriate regulation and there wouldn’t be a problem.
“Sensible Senators know that opening the back door to cheap foreign labour isn’t the answer.
“We need to maintain our maritime skills base and ensure the viability of Australian jobs in the offshore sector.”
Yesterday's media release can be found here.