Morrison denying 457 abuse: CFMEU PDF Print E-mail
Tuesday, 26 February 2013 08:39

The Construction, Forestry, Mining and Energy Union (CFMEU) has attacked the Opposition Immigration Spokesperson Scott Morrison for his comments on the Federal Government’s initiative to curb 457 visa rorts.

In a statement released this morning, National CFMEU Construction Division Secretary Dave Noonan said the figures show there was an obvious abuse of the 457 visa system to import cheap foreign labour by business while local workers struggle to find work.

“From August 2011 to August 2012 there were 68,000 jobs lost in the Australian construction industry, a drop of  6.5 per cent," he said.

"At the same time there was a 38 per cent rise in the number of 457 visa workers in the same industry.

“This is a rort staring Mr Morrison in the face and his consistent denial of the abuse of these visas can only mean that he supports business in their quest to undercut Australian workers’ pay and conditions.”

Over the weekend, Mr Morrison challenged the Immigration Minister Brendan O’Connor to substantiate his claim of abuse of the 457 visa system.

Last year Mr Morrison said there was room for expansion of the program and claimed that assertions that the market was being flooded with foreign workers was "ridiculous".

“It’s hard to understand why Mr Morrison can’t look at these figures – from the Australian Bureau of Statistics and the Department of Immigration and Citizenship – and draw the same conclusions that everyone else is reaching: the system is being abused,” said Mr Noonan.

Mr Noonan said the figures show what the union has been hearing from construction workers for some time.

“Many of our members struggle to find work, yet we are told that there aren’t enough workers to fill jobs," he said.

"The statistics prove our case that Australian workers are missing out.”

Mr Noonan welcomed the Government’s decision, but said what was needed was a legislated requirement for employers to employ permanent residents before they were granted a right to access temporary overseas labour.

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