1,700 workers to be brought in on 457 visas to work on Western Australia mining project

Unions have slammed the Federal Government’s announcement of an agreement that will allow more than 1,700 foreign workers to be brought in to work on a large Western Australian mining project.

The agreement, the first of its kind, will allow the Roy Hill project in the Pilbara to sponsor overseas workers on 457 visas.

Immigration Minister Chris Bowen says the project will have massive economic benefits.

“This is about providing certainty for investors,” he said.

But it has drawn an angry response from union leaders, who have accused the Government of “sheer lunacy”.

Paul Howes from the Australian Workers Union says it is bad news for Australian workers.

“Frankly, I just can’t get my head around what political genius thought this was a good idea,” he said.

“Who thought this is a great thing to do today? It is just sheer lunacy. Sheer lunacy.”

Dave Noonan from the CFMEU says the Government is selling out workers.

“The Minister’s press release described this as a historic announcement,” he said.

“It is indeed a historic announcement when a Labor Minister puts the interests of billionaire mining companies ahead of the interests of working Australians and the Australian community at large.”

The Federal Government frontbencher Gary Gray has defended the decision.

He says the Government wants to make sure major projects are built on time and on budget.

“As you start building you may discover you need this particular welding skill or that particular scaffolding skill, that needs to be on hand and available right now,” he said.

“The quickest way to access that is to make sure you have an intelligent system.”

The Government says more large-scale agreements are under negotiation.

Category: Australian Visas
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