Queensland Labor Senator Murray Watt is calling on George Christensen to follow through on a threat to cross the floor.Photo: Emily Smith
Queensland Labor Senator Murray Watt is calling on George Christensen to follow through on a threat to cross the floor.Photo: Emily Smith Emily Smith

Watts hits out at CQ's 457 visa numbers

A QUEENSLAND Senator based in Brisbane has hit out at the number of 457 visas in Central Queensland and the region's politicians about the matter.

Senator Murray Watt says there are 300 overseas workers on 457 visas in the Fitzroy region right now and unemployment is running at 5.8%.

He said Youth unemployment is even higher at 8.6%.

"(Capricornia MP) Michelle Landry is doing nothing to pressure local employers to give locals a go,” Mr Watt said..

"Ms Landry's own government is making it too easy for dodgy employers to pass over local job seekers in favour of overseas workers.

"Even Dawson MP, George Christensen, has finally jumped on the bandwagon, saying he "will be writing” to Malcolm Turnbull about 457s.”

Mr Watt then went on to talk about what the Australian Labor Party is doing for Australian workers.

"This week, Labor Leader Bill Shorten committed to make employers try harder, to find local workers, and to train up locals,” he said.

"Labor will toughen rules to make sure that where there are local workers ready and willing to work, employers will have to advertise and genuinely try to fill jobs with local workers, before looking overseas.”

While The Bulletin requested a response from Ms Landry's office, it was Senator Matt Canavan who responded.

The Minister for Resources and Northern Australia said Senator Watt was too far removed from Central Queensland in his Brisbane-based office to be qualified to make comments about jobs in the region.

Mr Canavan said that if Labor wanted to create jobs in regional Queensland, it should support the Adani coal mine and Rookwood Weir projects.

"This week, Opposition leader Bill Shorten has visited Townsville and Mackay without once mentioning the Adani Carmichael coal project,” he said.

"It's the biggest thing on the drawing board up here and would create thousands of jobs throughout Central and North Queensland. Why is he afraid to talk about it?

"The same goes for Rookwood Weir on the Fitzroy River, a project for which the Coalition has already committed $130 million - 50 per cent of the construction cost - but you never hear the Labor party say anything positive about it.

"Labor talks about jobs but they don't have a plan to create any.”



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