“The new Rudd Government administration has missed a vital opportunity to act on its first day to restore business confidence by voting to pass the damaging Migration Amendment (Temporary Sponsored Visas) Bill in the House of Representatives,” Business Council Chief Executive Jennifer Westacott said.
“We urge the Prime Minister Kevin Rudd to follow through on his pledge to work closely with business and withdraw the Bill from the Senate, where it is being rushed through in the last hours of the parliament before the election,” Ms Westacott said.
“This is bad policy resulting from bad process and needs to be stopped.
“Business has been clear since the damaging changes to the temporary skilled migration scheme were first mooted back in February – there is no hard evidence of systematic wrongdoing, the scheme is not growing excessively and any abuses can be dealt with under the current scheme.
“The Business Council’s consistent calls for any concerns about the temporary migration scheme to be subjected to a proper regulatory assessment, and for any changes that are subsequently proposed to be put through an appropriate consultation with those affected have been ignored.
“It is disappointing, given Mr Rudd reached out to business on his election to the prime ministership, that he did not respond to serious business concerns about a critical live issue which can only be described as anti-business and anti-growth.
“Business wants to work cooperatively with government and welcomes Mr Rudd’s commitment to engage more with business but we need decisive policy action if we are to build business confidence.
“With our competitiveness under extreme pressure now is a very bad time to be making it harder for critical skills shortages to be filled which not only enable major investments and projects to go ahead but which protect the job prospects of Australian workers,” Ms Westacott said.
For further information contact:
Scott Thompson, Director, Media and Public Affairs
Business Council of Australia
Telephone (03) 8664 2664 | Mobile 0403 241 128