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Issue #1610      September 11, 2013

Rinehart’s greed

The claims that Gina Rinehart’s Roy Hill project was being held up by investor insecurity over the Enterprise Migration Agreement which she has sought in order to bring in 1,715 temporary foreign workers, is not based in the reality of Australia’s current labour market, according to Construction Forestry Mining and Energy Union national assistant secretary Dave Noonan.

“It appears that Hancock Prospecting is champing at the bit to get the Coalition elected so they can turn on the tap of temporary overseas labour, regardless of the fact that unemployment in this country is rising and many Australians are looking for work,” Mr Noonan commented.

“In May, the company indicated that they most probably won’t need the workers they proposed to bring in on the Enterprise Migration Agreement as circumstances had changed.”

Mr Noonan pointed out that the best way to re-assure their investors about labour is to point out that thousands of construction workers have recently lost their jobs and are looking for work.

He said the Resource Jobs Board has had upwards of 33,000 job applicants on its site recently. “Surely this is good enough proof that the 1715 workers can be sourced locally.

“If Hancock Prospecting needs a hand in finding these workers the CFMEU is willing to co-operate in assisting them publicise the job vacancies.

“If at the end of the process there’s still a need for more workers, we’ll be happy to welcome overseas temporary workers and ensure that they are treated with respect and dignity and paid their lawful wages and entitlements.

“But we will not allow Australian workers and our young people to be sidelined when it comes to job opportunities.”

The CFMEU is running a campaign entitled “Why Mr Abbott” which calls on the Coalition to commit to ensuring local workers are given a genuine opportunity to apply for jobs before companies are given the go-ahead to bring in temporary overseas workers.

Next article – Two-tier public health system is here

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