MUA: Skills Shortage in Australian Offshore a Myth

Skills Shortage in Australian Offshore a Myth
MUA Assistant National Secretary Ian Bray

Opening up the floodgates to foreign workers on Australia’s oil and gas projects is unwarranted, hypocritical and shortsighted according to the Maritime Union of Australia.

Just three days after widespread rorting of the migration visa system was revealed by the mainstream media, Senator Michaelia Cash announced the Government would be implementing ‘designated area migration agreements’ for the Northern Territory and Western Australia.

MUA Assistant National Secretary Ian Bray said they should be tightening up migration controls particularly as unemployment throughout Australia spirals out of control.

“I’m just astounded at the hypocrisy of this Government,” Bray said.

“On one hand the Government are willing to turn away some of the world’s most desperate people and squirrel them away on remote islands behind a shroud of secrecy

“And on the other hand they are allowing people come from any area of the world to work in Australia, basically without scrutiny, as long as they’re willing to accept lesser conditions and pay than an Australian worker.”

Western Australia Branch Secretary Christy Cain said the skills shortage was a myth and there were thousands of job-ready workers sitting on welfare.

“There are more than 500 seafarers with the right qualifications and certificates raring to go and that’s only taking into account the people we look after,” Cain said.

“Add to that plumbers, welders, technicians, electricians, truckies, train drivers and we’re talking thousands of people. Thousands of people who will have to go through the degrading process of fruitlessly applying for 40 jobs a month that aren’t there because Michaelia Cash gave that job to someone else.”

“As for the hundreds of thousands of under-30s who will be faced with six months without any income and forced labour in the form of work-for-the-dole for the other six months, you really have to wonder what is this Government is on about.

“Implementing this half-cooked policy will not benefit the local communities one bit.

“The only winners will be the shareholders of the Tokyo Stock Exchange-listed Inpex.”

The Abbott Government has already flagged its intention to open the floodgates for cheap foreign labour in the offshore by killing off the Senate’s wishes to adequately regulate visas in the industry.

“Rather than listen to the Senate and the Australian people, they instead re-opened a loophole that allows foreign workers in the offshore,” Bray said.

“This latest action merely offers more of an indication of how out of touch this Government is.”

Press Release, August 12, 2014