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Beazley’s disgraceful actions.

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Media Release

Beazley’s Disgraceful Actions 14 May 2006

The Minister for Immigration and Multicultural Affairs, Senator Amanda Vanstone, said today that Kim Beazley’s continuing attempts to drum up opposition to access to apprenticeships in Australia by overseas students were a complete disgrace.

‘Why is it OK to bring in a very large number of overseas university students, but not OK to allow in limited circumstances young overseas people to learn a trade in Australia?,’ Senator Vanstone asked.

‘Clearly Mr Beazley just doesn’t understand. Overseas apprentices in Australia will not displace local Australians, they will be paid in accordance with Australian law and will, in fact, assist in ensuring trade training remains available in regional areas.

‘Mr Beazley should know that there are strict conditions to ensure that Australians capable of and wanting to do apprenticeships are not displaced by overseas apprentices

‘All visas have to be approved by Regional Certifying Bodies, which are appointed after consultation with state governments, and draw on local knowledge to ensure that interests of the community are protected.

‘Among the many safeguards, the Regional Certifying Bodies have to check that the employer has tried to fill the position by advertising within Australia.

‘Sponsoring employers have to have a good training record and many will be group training companies which are typically not-for-profit, community organisations.

‘Any overseas apprentice must be paid in strict accordance with Australian industrial laws. This includes the requirement that a training contract under the new apprenticeships scheme is registered with the appropriate state or territory body responsible for training.

‘The Government’s decision to allow entry of foreign apprentices in certain circumstances was taken to help regional group training companies remain viable and thus keep offering trade training to young Australians in regional areas.

‘It will also help Australian businesses in regional and remote areas who have trouble getting young Australians for the task.

‘The provisions that allow employers group training companies to recruit overseas apprentices were developed in response to a request in 2003 from the community of Roma and the Golden West Group Training company.

‘Golden West was concerned that without sufficient numbers they would have to cease offering some apprenticeships.

‘Their intention in asking that they could accept overseas applicants was to ensure that they could continue to offer a full range of apprenticeships to young people from Roma.

‘The simple fact is that Australia is not going to be flooded with overseas apprentices; the strict conditions simply don’t allow for this.

‘The attempts by unions and Labor to stir up resentment against ‘foreign apprentices’ taking positions from Australians are nothing short of despicable.

‘I am surprised that Kim Beazley is prepared to go along with such blatant xenophobia. I can only assume that he is ignorant of the true facts.’

Minister’s media contact: 0417 445 886