Migrant workers for rural industries?

Media release

Australian Protectionist Party National Chairman and South Australian Spokesman Mr. Andrew Phillips today called upon South Australia’s Minister for Agriculture, Mr. Rory McEwen, to clarify recent support for migrant workers in our nation’s agricultural sector.

“Mr.McEwen is on record as saying that our employers must look after migrant workers and ensure they stay in regional areas such as the South East” Mr. Phillips said, “However, constituents are being left in the dark as to exactly what measures employers are expected to take, under what conditions foreign workers are to be employed and from what region are they to be sourced?”.

The Australian Protectionist Party continues to raise the concerns of local workers about the introduction of schemes to exploit foreign workers in our regional industries. We believe there are enough workers in our nation to fill these roles but supposed “shortfalls” are a symptom of governmental neglect in the areas of training and lack of imagination in policies to entice people into these sectors.

“Time and again we are subjected to the bleating of advocates for economic rationalism and globalization about so called skills shortages and labour shortages in regional areas” Mr. Phillips continued “successive governments are to blame by ignoring the opportunity to liaise with industry about future requirements so changes could be made in education and vocational training.”

“Furthermore, there is no need to import labour from the Asia Pacific region to assist with harvests in our country. Surely if our government were to offer favourable tax concessions or tax free status for people willing to perform this work – be it students in their gap year looking to save money for university studies, local travelers who follow seasonal work and European backpackers – there would be no shortage of applicants for these positions, not to mention the fact that the money would be spent locally supporting our communities, rather than most of it being sent overseas.”

“Rather than ignoring the wealth of talent and enthusiasm this nation possesses and taking the easy option, governments must reassure locals that every possible avenue to draw upon local workers will be investigated before considering importing workers – and Mr.McEwen must be up front about his position on this issue” Mr. Phillips concluded.

This topic can be discussed on the Australian Identity Forum.

Statement issued by Mr. Andrew Phillips
National Chairman and S.A. spokesman, Australian Protectionist Party
4th September 2008

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