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Parliamentary Questions

Question Without Notice No. 870 asked in the Legislative Council on 28 November 2017 by Hon Charles Smith

Parliament: 40 Session: 1
Answered on 28 November 2017

      870. Hon CHARLES SMITH to the minister representing the Minister for State Development, Jobs and Trade:
I refer to a recent report by the Bankwest Curtin Economics Centre that noted that 53 per cent of skilled migrants in Western Australia said that they are working in lower skilled jobs than before they arrived, with underemployment also common.
      (1) Given these poor employment outcomes and the weak WA jobs market, does the state government agree that it makes little sense to continue issuing such a large number of visas with working rights to foreign nationals?
      (2) If so, will the state government take action to protect workers already here by lobbying the federal government to reduce immigration levels?
I thank the member for the question.
      (1)–(2) One of the first actions of the McGowan government upon coming to office was to tear up the skilled migration occupation list and remove Perth from the regional sponsored migration scheme. The list was reduced from 178 occupations in 2016 under the former Liberal–National government to only 18 under the current Labor government. Many of these remaining are specialist medical professions. The McGowan government's number one priority is Western Australian jobs. The government is pursuing numerous policies to grow and diversify the state's economy. For example, today the Premier was in Joondalup with the Minister for Innovation and ICT, announcing the government's new industries fund, providing support and acceleration for new and innovative businesses. Further to this, the government's Western Australian Jobs Bill is currently before the Legislative Council, and I and the Premier look forward to it receiving support from all parties.