March 03, 2017

The Turnbull Government should get serious about fixing the rorts in the 457 program and stand up to protect penalty rates, not seek tabloid headlines.

Today’s announcement that the Government plans to ban temporary foreign workers from taking jobs at fast food stores applies to a couple of hundred people in retail managing and supervising positions.

People on 457 visas aren’t the ones flipping burgers.

The Fast Food Industry Labour Agreement is in place for retail management and retail supervising positions only.

The temporary foreign workers that are flipping burgers and coating chicken in the Colonel’s secret herbs and spices are those that are in Australia on temporary working holiday maker visas and student visas.

Is the Turnbull Government going to ban those people from working in the fast food industry?

Malcolm Turnbull and Peter Dutton might be leadership rivals, but they both pretend they are in favour of protecting local jobs.

And this week they both threw their support behind plans to cut penalty rates for hundreds of thousands of workers in fast food, hospitality and retail.

This will leave these workers up to $77 worse off each week.

There are more than one million people in Australia who are on some form of temporary work visa while at the same time there are 1.8 million Australians who either can’t get a job or can’t get enough hours at work.
Today’s announcement on fast food will do nothing to help unemployed Australians who are looking for work as a nurse, carpenter, cook, early childhood educator, electrician or motor mechanic. 

Some Labour Agreements were useful during times of very low unemployment and specific labour shortages, but the mining boom is over, unemployment is higher, and for the last four years the Turnbull Government has done nothing to protect local jobs and pay.
Only Labor is standing up for local workers and has tabled a Private Members Bill to toughen the rules on 457 visas so employers have to genuinely try to fill jobs locally before looking overseas.