1243. Hon JACQUI BOYDELL to the Minister for Regional Development:
I refer to the member for Pilbara's
comments last week on ABC North West around the proposed Pilbara designated
area migration agreement, when he said, and I quote —
it's something related to the 457 visa, I'm 100 per cent sure
the Labor government in WA will oppose it.
I refer also to the minister's
own comments to the Kalgoorlie Miner of 16 November —
� the program would benefit the local
skills shortage and give migrants a gentle introduction to Australian life.
(1) Can the
minister state whether the government supports the designated area migration
agreement in the Pilbara?
(2) If no to (1),
for the benefit of the member for Pilbara, can the minister outline how she will
go about preventing the implementation of one?
(3) If yes to
(1), what has changed since the Leader of the House's response to
question without notice 727 on 29 August?
(4) If yes to
(1), can the minister outline conditions under which she believes a designated
area migration agreement will be effectively implemented?
Hon ALANNAH MacTIERNAN replied:
I thank the member for the question.
will ever accuse the Leader of the National Party in this place of too much
attention to detail or, indeed, of reading Hansards that refer to the
member, because I provided this information in an adjournment debate statement.
The member's fundamental problem that she is not accepting is that the
scheme that I was talking about in Kalgoorlie is a pilot program that this
government developed. It is not the federal government's project, but a
pilot scheme that we developed for those workers who were on safe haven visas
and bridging visas. These people were already resident here in this country, in
the Perth metropolitan area, whom we were trying to encourage to move out to
the regions by providing opportunities there. That is not the same program, by
any stretch of the imagination, as the federal government's new 457 visa.
The member referenced the answer given in this place by Hon Sue Ellery, and
that remains our position. Our priority at this stage, while we have 5.9 per cent
unemployment in this state, is to focus on the people who live in this state,
rather than focusing on bringing in short-term workers from overseas to fill
our skilled vacancies. They are two completely and utterly different programs.