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Wednesday, 27 November 1974
Page: 2829

Senator BUTTON - My question, which is directed to the Minister representing the Minister for Labor and Immigration, relates to the salvaging of the bulk carrier MV 'Sygna' by a Japanese salvaging team under the direction of Captain Kintoku Yamada off Newcastle. Will the Minister inform the Senate whether Japanese tradesmen and divers were issued with 3-monthly business visas in order to perform salvage work on this vessel? If not, what type of visas were issued to Japanese salvage personnel and how many Japanese employees have in fact been employed on the salvage of this vessel and obtained visas to do so? Is the Minister aware that there are unemployed professional divers in Australia with considerable experience in salvage work? What inquiries were made by the Department to ascertain the availability of" skilled Australian labour to perform this work before issuing visas to Japanese divers and other employees?

Senator BISHOP - Senator Buttonwarned me this morning that he would ask this question. I have some information and I am getting an answer from Mr Clyde Cameron to the latter part of the question. The information I have is that business visit visas were issued in Tokyo to Mr Yamada and 16 staff members of his company. The visas were endorsed 'employment prohibited '. No inquiries were made in Australia prior to the issue of the visas because it was not realised that the group comprised a salvage crew. However, it is understood that before salvage operations commenced the agents of Mr Yamada in Newcastle discussed the matter with the Newcastle Trades and Labour Council, which agreed to work commencing on the condition that the work team included 8 local dockers and 3 local shipwrights. The Japanese group is no longer in Australia. I will follow up the honourable senator's question and see whether I can get further information for him.

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