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Wednesday, 30 May 2012
Page: 6426

Mr BOWEN (McMahonMinister for Immigration and Citizenship) (17:14): In response to the honourable member: firstly, I welcome his support for our increased skilled migration program in particular. I must correct the member, however—my clear understanding is that we have kept the same proportion of skilled versus family migration since 2006.

In relation to SkillSelect, I also welcome his support. It is a good reform—a very good reform—which will help us better manage the skilled migration program. We do have a substantial backlog of skilled migration applications and that is something which has provided a very significant challenge. That is because Australia, being a very attractive place to live, does attract many applications for all our migration streams and particularly in relation to skilled migration. Those applications of course have varying degrees of quality and qualifications, and some will never be in a position to be approved. Nevertheless, we are legally obliged to fully consider the applications. SkillSelect is an expression-of-interest model which will enable the department to sift through those applications much more effectively and much more quickly.

On the honourable member's question about the tabling of the outcome for 2011-12, I am advised we will not be able to do that until 30 June at least, because 2011-12 is not yet complete. In relation to the further matter he asked to be placed on the website, I will take on notice the question of when that will be put on the website. But certainly we are not able to put the 2011-12 result up until the end of 2011-12.

In relation to the honourable member's questions: yes, last week I announced in-principle agreement with Roy Hill. I said in my speech announcing the Roy Hill enterprise migration agreement that it was an in-principle agreement and documents would shortly be signed. Those documents of course are the subject of discussion between the Roy Hill project and the government. There will be substantial discussions about those. They are important documents.

In relation to site agreements: site agreements are a matter between the enterprise and the unions. If there were to be any government or ministerial involvement it would be through the Minister for Employment and Workplace Relations and Fair Work Australia. As Minister for Immigration and Citizenship I have no role in industrial relations matters. Site agreements, I dare say, will be a matter of vigorous negotiation between the unions and Roy Hill. But that will be a matter for Roy Hill and the unions under our Fair Work system.