Queensland will bear the brunt of Federal Labor’s attack on temporary migrant workers and backpackers, with new data showing the state’s economy is the most exposed to the government’s visa changes.
The Federal Government has increased the minimum wage for temporary skilled migrants to $70,000, an increase of $16,100.
According to the Government’s own data, Queensland is the most exposed state economy, with average salaries for temporary workers who are technicians, trade workers, community workers, machinery operators, drivers and labourers all below the new minimum threshold.
These workers will need a pay rise to $70,000 or will be forced to leave the country or find another job because of Labor’s changes.
Labor has also increased the cost of a Working Holiday Maker (WHM) visa by $130 to $640, making it the highest fee visa of its kind in the world. Meanwhile, Home Affairs Minister Claire O’Neil is considering cutting the WHM visa back to one year, which would further devastate Australia’s $3 billion backpacker industry.
Labor is making Australia a less attractive destination, discouraging backpackers from visiting Queensland, spending money on tourism activities and working in regional jobs.
Federal Labor is even at loggerheads with the Queensland State Labor Government over the backpacker issue. The Queensland Government had called on the Government to reduce visa costs and extend the length of stay for backpackers, and Federal Labor has done the opposite.
Federal Member for Flynn, Colin Boyce said the Flynn electorate would be hit hard by Labor’s changes.
“The Flynn electorate has embraced the foreign workers who are here filling labour shortages and helping keep our communities going, whether they be backpackers or temporary workers,” Mr Boyce said.
“We should be encouraging more people to visit regional Queensland and to work here not making it harder.
“Labor just don’t get Queensland. They don’t understand how important backpackers are to our local communities and they don’t understand that most local businesses can’t afford to give workers a $16,000 pay rise in the middle of a cost-of-living crisis.”
Shadow Minister for Immigration and Citizenship Dan Tehan said Labor had ignored the warnings about the negative impact their changes would have on regional and rural Australia.
“It’s bad enough that Labor has slapped backpackers with a massive visa fee increase which will only discourage tourists from visiting our beautiful country,” Mr Tehan said.
“It more incredible that Labor is actively considering cutting back the Working Holiday Visa which would devastate tourism operators and leave no one to pick fruit or work in regional hospitality.
“The Coalition is calling on the Labor Government to protect our backpacker industry and the Working Holiday Maker visa.”