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February 13, 2018

The Turnbull Government has voted against a Labor amendment to ensure local workers are given the first opportunity to apply for a local job before an employer brings in an overseas worker.

Labour market testing puts local workers first by making employers prove there are no experienced local workers available to do the job before a skilled visa is made available.

Labor’s amendments to the Migration Amendment (Skilling Australians Fund) Bill 2017 would have guaranteed labour market testing to require:

  • jobs to be advertised for a minimum of four weeks;
  • job advertisements to be targeted so Australian citizens or Australian permanent residents would see them, rather than ads targeting overseas workers;
  • advertising to set out any skills or experience requirements that are appropriate to the position, rather than unrealistic or unwarranted skills; and
  • labour market testing to have to be conducted no more than four months before the nomination of a visa.

The amendments were supported by the Greens, Andrew Wilkie, and Bob Katter in the House, and are similar to the labour market testing requirements Labor successfully inserted into the ABCC legislation.

Instead of protecting labour market testing conditions in legislation, the Turnbull Government expects Australians to rely on Peter Dutton to do the right thing by local workers.

At a Senate Inquiry into the Bill, the Australian Council of Trade Unions (ACTU) made the same point, testifying:

“We suspect that the Government is not serious about a proper labour market testing regime at all. We are not satisfied that the changes in the bill will tighten labour market testing.”

The out-of-touch Turnbull Government failed to protect penalty rates – cutting the take home pay for up to 700,000 of Australia’s workers – and now they’ve failed to ensure local workers get the first shot at local jobs.

In Government, Labor will establish the Australian Skills Authority – an independent, labour market testing body to determine genuine skills needs and restrict temporary work visas so that they are only made available when a genuine skills gap cannot be met with local workers.

You can’t trust the Turnbull Government to support labour market testing and you can’t trust them with local jobs.