CAPRICORNIA MP Michelle Landry has criticised claims by the AMWU that workers on 457 visas get preference over 'local' employees as "absolute garbage".
Ms Landry (pictured) told The Morning Bulletin out of "the tens of thousands of people" working in Rockhampton, only 343 were 457 visa holders.
She said Hastings Deering had told her only 55 people, which equated to 1% of their workforce, were on 457 visas.
"Out of those 55 workers, at least 21 are leaving the organisation as a consequence of current downsizing," Ms Landry said.
"This is clear evidence that the union is simply creating hysteria in the community."
Ms Landry said the number of people on 457 visas had fallen since the 2013 federal election.
"Sponsored workers on 457 visas account for less than one per cent of Australia's labour force," she said.
"At this low level it is both unrealistic and naive to suggest that the 457 skilled migration program is flooding the national labour market."
Ms Landry said hiring workers on 457 visas was far from a low cost option for employers, with extra expenses associated with sponsoring these workers.
She said Australian workers were not being "undercut" by 475 visa holders, who would be paid the same rate as an Australian would in the same job.
"If the market salary rate for the position that is to be sponsored does not exceed the Temporary Skilled Migration Income Threshold (TSMIT), then the person will not be able to access the subclass 457 visa programme," she said.
The threshold is currently set at $53,900.
Ms Landry said the behaviour of "foul-mouthed union leaders" had negatively impacted on jobs in Capricornia in recent years.
"Where were the unions when Labor's Anna Bligh allowed 100% FIFO to decimate local jobs in Central Queensland's coal mining towns?" she said.
"It's a bit rich for the union to be mouthing off about harm to the local workforce.
"Their industrial disputes in the past have inhibited business growth and cost a lot of lost production and employment opportunities right here in Central Queensland."
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