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Wednesday, 6 October 1971
Page: 1919

Mr DALY (GRAYNDLER, NEW SOUTH WALES) - I direct a question to the Minister representing the Minister for Immigration. By way of explanation I mention that I have received a letter from the General Secretary of the Queensland Trades and Labour Council concerning the work being performed by Japanese technicians in Townsville because it was felt that the same work could be done equally well by local tradesmen. I ask: Is it a fact that Japanese workers are engaged in the construction of television stations and repeater stations in which a fair amount of highly specialised Japanese electronic equipment is used? If so, will the Minister state how many Japanese workers are employed, their classifications, rates of pay and other relevant details of the terms and conditions of their engagement and the circumstances under which they were admitted to Australia.

Mr LYNCH (FLINDERS, VICTORIA) (Minister for Labour and National Service) - From the information given by the honourable gentleman it is not easy to identify positively the employer in question although he may have in mind, as 1 recall it, an employer named the Nippon Co. which was involved in the construction of a microwave link between Townsville and Mount Isa. If that is the company the honourable member has in mind the answer is that the company was given permission to introduce into Australia for a short-term period a general manager and a number of telecommunications engineers in order to complete the project. I might say in reply to the honourable gentleman that it is the policy of the Department of Immigration in cases involving the introduction of specialist labour for short-term periods to check carefully with my own Department, the Department of Labour and National Service. Permission for entry is not given unless it is clear that suitable alternative local labour is not available. My understanding from my own Department is that this was the case in relation to the matter which is now under reference. The honourable mem,ber asked a series of other detailed questions relating to rates of pay and conditions of employment. I will ensure that this, information is provided to him and I will send him a letter during the course of the next day or so.

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