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Wednesday, 30 May 2012
Page: 6292

Enterprise Migration Agreements

Mr HAASE (Durack) (15:00): My question is to the Prime Minister. I remind the Prime Minister of her promise last week with respect to the Roy Hill enterprise migration agreement that there will be increased scrutiny and, if there is an Australian able to do the work, an Australian gets the work. How can the caucus believe the Prime Minister's promise, given evidence from immigration department officials in estimates that there will be no additional resources or staff provided to monitor the implementation of enterprise migration agreements including this one?

Ms GILLARD (LalorPrime Minister) (15:01): Thank you very much to the member for Durack for his question. The member for Durack may not be aware, though he ought to be aware if he has been studying Senate estimates, that appropriate provision has been made for monitoring and compliance work. To the member for Durack: this side of the parliament will always work hard and diligently to ensure that Australians are getting opportunities and getting them first. We are a Labor government and that is why we, during the global financial crisis, voted to support Australian jobs and prevailed against the destructive negativity of those opposite. And that is why in this period when our economy is the envy of the world but around the nation there are patchwork pressures, which means that it is possible in one part of the nation for a skilled worker to lose their job but their very skills to be desperately in demand in another part of the nation, we will work as a Labor government to ensure that people know what the opportunities are that are arising from the resources boom.

Common sense tells all of us that it is not possible for everyone to work in the mining industry, that it is not possible for everyone to relocate to where those job opportunities are, that it is not possible for everyone to work in a fly-in fly-out arrangement. But if there are Australians ready, willing and able to do the work and it is available, then I want them to get that work first. That is what we are determined to do. That is what we will use the resources of government to do. That is what we will work hard to ensure, because we want the benefits of the resources boom to be spread right around the country, whether those benefits are in the form of jobs or whether they are in the form of increased family payments.

It is the opposition who want those benefits to be concentrated in the hands of a few. The Leader of the Opposition has been talking about that today to the Minerals Council of Australia. He has been speculating about just how tough it is to be a billionaire. Well, let me say to the Leader of the Opposition that what he should have said to the Minerals Council today is: 'Heaven help working Australian families struggling to make ends meet if this Leader of the Opposition ever becomes Prime Minister,' because his job then will be to rip out of the hands of families the benefits of the boom and to give it back to a few.