Peak body warns PM over visa changes

Zach RelphSouth Western Times

Australia’s leading agricultural body has urged Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull to consider how abolishing the 457 visa program could affect the seasonal workforce.

Mr Turnbull posted a video to Facebook on Tuesday announcing the “457 visa will be replaced by a new temporary visa, specifically designed to recruit the best and the brightest in the national interest”.

Following the announcement, AUSVEG chief executive officer James Whiteside called for Mr Turnbull to ensure the agricultural industry’s ability to employee seasonal workers was not affected.

“If Australia’s skilled migration system is going to be changed, then we need to recognise the critical role that skilled foreign workers play in regional industries, including the vegetable and broader horticulture industries,” Mr Whiteside said.

“If Australia’s regional industries are to be internationally competitive, it’s vital that they continue to have reliable access to skilled and unskilled labour throughout the year to cater for the peaks and troughs in seasonal workforce demand.”

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