The Maritime Union of Australia (MUA) is calling on the Turnbull Government to hold a Royal Commission into the abuse of subclass 457 Visas, the alleged rorting of which is robbing Australians of jobs and the national economy of precious tax dollars.
Media reports this week revealed an American company, Diamond Offshore, had staffed a third of its workforce on the Ocean Monarch rig off Port Hedland with foreign workers, mostly US citizens on 457 Visas.
This is despite there being no skills shortage for oil and gas plant operators in Western Australia.
These media reports also said the American corporate giant runs a 183-day a year roster for its fly-in fly-out (FIFO) foreign workers so they are not resident in Australia for tax purposes.
“This is an outrage and appears to be one of the biggest rorts going around because hundreds of local workers could have filled these jobs,” MUA National President Chris Cain said.
“If they had put Australian workers on that rig they would have been paying tax back into this country. Bringing Americans in here is an absolute disgrace when Australians are out of work.
“There should be a Royal Commission into multi-national companies which come into Australia and abuse 457 Visas to take local jobs and pay no tax.
“Millions and millions of dollars in PAYE tax is being lost out of the Australian economy – money that could be spent on schools, hospitals and other public works.”
In August last year, the MUA celebrated a High Court win which ensured Aussie workers in our offshore oil and gas industry were not replaced with cheap foreign labour.
Maritime unions took the then Assistant Immigration Minister, Senator Michaelia Cash, to court after she ignored the will of the Senate, and used a ministerial determination to grant working visa exemption to foreign worker on offshore vessels.
“The MUA took it all the way to the High Court and won. This latest rort shows the lengths giant multi-national companies will go to get around the law of the land in Australia to avoid paying their fair share in tax,” Mr Cain said.
“The Abbott/Turnbull Government was quick to call a Royal Commission into unions, yet here, when it is clear the 457 Visa system is being abused, they sit on their hands instead of acting immediately in the national interest.”
CONTACT: Chris Cain, MUA National President, 0407 850 084.
MEDIA CONTACT: Darrin Barnett, 0428 119 703.