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Thursday, 3 October 1974
Page: 1644

Senator DAVIDSON (SOUTH AUSTRALIA) - My question is directed to the Minister representing the Minister for Labor and Immigration. I refer also to the

Government's announcement that there will be a severe setback in the Australian immigration program. Does the Minister agree that a migration program cannot be turned on and off like a tap? As most of the current year's target has been reached, what will happen to the various offices and officers of the Department in recruiting countries? Is the Minister aware that the Minister for Labor and Immigration said last night that Australia's greatest problem was a shortage of skilled labour and that if we could get 400 fitters and turners, an organisation such as the Broken Hill Pty Co. Ltd would take on an additional 1,400 people? If this is so, will the Minister take all possible steps to obtain these and other skilled people who will assist in the productivity situation in this country and will continue the benefits of immigration to Australia?

Senator BISHOP - I do not think that our present offices overseas would be affected at all by the announcement by the Minister for Labor and Immigration, but I will check with him. I would be very surprised if they were. The honourable senator might not have noticed that Mr Clyde Cameron placed some emphasis on the need for skilled people. He referred to unemployment and said that in some fields unemployment was causing concern and because of that the Department had set a new target. He said also that in some areas of Australia there was a shortage of skills that was hampering production in the way that Senator Davidson has said; consequently nominations or applications in respect of workers in those employment categories in which there remains a strong demand will continue to be considered. I believe that the Minister will have regard to the sort of aims which are referred to by Senator Davidson, and he has already said so. I will ask the Minister for Labor and Immigration whether in precise terms he can add to my general comments on the question.

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