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Andren blasts "jobs to India" plan.



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Peter Andren MP - Independent Member for Calare

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4 December 2001

Andren Blasts “Jobs to India” Plan

A Government endorsed report recommending Australian businesses ship their computer and information technology jobs to India should be condemned by the people of the Central West of NSW, according to Independent Federal Member for Calare Peter Andren.

The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade report, titled India: New Economy, Old Economy, launched yesterday by Foreign Minister Alexander Downer encourages Australian businesses, amongst other things, to set up operations in India to exploit low wage labour.

“Yesterday the ANZ bank was pointing to a four-year low in job advertisements and at the same time Mr Downer is wanting to send work overseas. It doesn’t add up,” Mr Andren said.

“I am all for the encouragement of our trade relationship with India, and all for Australian companies improving their competitiveness and exploring overseas markets, but why does this have to be at the cost of local workers.

“I also have doubts that the benefits of outsourcing work to countries such as India will be returned to consumers in lower prices for goods and services.

“In our area the Berlei underwear factory in Lithgow was shut down and re-established in Indonesia to exploit cheaper labour costs. The price of the product remained the same providing nil benefit to the consumer.

“The real cost was increased unemployment for Lithgow and movement of people out of the area.

“It’s the same so called push for global competitiveness that will see 570 jobs lost from Telstra’s Network Design & Construction subsidiary.

“To increase returns to its shareholders, Telstra has starved NDC, its own subsidiary, of work outsourcing it to foreign based who use cheaper outside labour or squeeze low rates out of local contractors already desperate for work.

“This country, especially its regional and rural areas, would be better served if the efforts of business and government were directed to proactive initiatives like Regional Enterprise Zones designed to boost regional economic development through targeted investment and tax incentives.

“Instead we have a government, with no regional plan, that pledges no more cuts to jobs and services in the regions on the one hand while pushing employment and investment opportunities overseas on the other,” he added.

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