Australia News

Published on May 15th, 2013 | by john.weir

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Australia cash incentives for outback work


Workers in Australia will get cash incentives to work in more rural locations.

Workplace Relations Minister Bill Shorten announced a $3.5 million “practical and targeted measure” in the budget to help industry attract apprentices and workers in regional areas.

The Gillard Government will provide up to $6,500 for Australian families and $4,500 for individuals to move “beyond the big cities”, while increasing the cost of  457 visas for skilled migrants from $455 to $900.

“This is a win for regional and remote businesses and communities, a win for young Australians looking to develop skills that will help them build a great career, and a win for workers looking to build new futures in new communities built on our great bedrock industries,” Mr Shorten said of the relocation incentives.

A further $15.3 million will fund 10 more Jobs and Skills Expos and support 20 Local Employment co-ordinators in priority employment areas.

But the move on 457 visas attracted strong criticism from National Farmers’ Federation president Duncan Fraser, who said it meant farmers would find it more difficult to employ reliable workers.

“We see an increase of that magnitude as a disincentive to employers to pursue visa applications for skilled workers,” he said.

“We need all forms of assistance in terms of getting labour out to regional areas.”

The business community accused the 457 Visa program of favouring overseas job seeker earlier this year with claims local workers were missing out.

Immigration Minister Brendan O’Connor said the Government’s top priority would “always be jobs for Australians”.

“The permanent migration program is about getting the balance right between our economic and social objectives,” Mr O’Connor said.

“’Our migration program ensures skilled migrants will continue to fill critical gaps in regions and sectors with genuine skills shortages.”

The next financial year program provides 128,550 places for skilled migrants, 60,885 places for family migration and 565 places for migration under special eligibility – a shift of 700 from the skilled to family stream.

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