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Miners 'lying' about need for foreign labour, Katter says
16/07/2012 - Greedy resource companies are lying about the need to import foreign workers into Australia, outspoken federal independent MP Bob Katter says.
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The Queensland member for Kennedy also told Fairfax Radio in Perth on Friday that iron ore magnate Gina Rinehart wanted her employees "to work for nothing".
Claims of a skills shortage by the resources sector were "farcical", he said, and the world's richest woman was using it as an excuse to import cut-priced labour for her Roy Hill iron ore project in Western Australia's Pilbara.
"It is absolutely outrageous what Gina Rinehart is doing," Katter said.
He said he'd recently spoken with three mining companies that had vowed to "smash unionism" in what he claimed was a bid to lower wages.
"Smash unions means we want people working for nothing."
Katter said the companies claimed they needed to fly in foreign workers, despite there being almost 300,000 people registered for full-time employment in Queensland who could not get a job.
Unemployment was also an issue in Western Australia, albeit to a lesser extent, he said.
Katter said resource projects — especially coal mines in Queensland's Galilee Basin region — were increasingly foreign-owned, with little money returning to Australia.
"If the profits are going to go overseas and now the wages are going to go overseas, well what the hell do Australians get?," he asked.
"We get no profit, we get no wages, we just get a big hole in the ground."
Under former WA premier Sir Charles Court and former Queensland premier Sir Joe Bjelke-Petersen — who both banned fly-in workers in the states' resource sector — Australia had experienced its greatest period of growth in history, Katter said.
"So don't tell me that inhibits the growth of mining — it doesn't."
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sylvia | 16/07/2012 11:06 1
Well said Bob. We also get to pay for the infrastructure according to todays suggestion by the IA. Look at Malaysia, the UAE and even China to see how they protect their country and their people.
Nick Costabile | 16/07/2012 11:24 2
Excellent summation of the current situation in Australia Mr. Katter, I run a niche' market Technical Recruitment Firm and have at least 50 specialist Engineers all Australian based and trained and cannot get them into any of these company's. To bring people in from abroad is criminal. Forget about what's happening in our mining induustry that's just the tip of the iceberg, what about all the farms we are selling off to overseas interest, so we will not only have big holes in the ground in years to come with high levels of unemployment, even our food will be sent offshore. Australia needs to start waking up now or we will become a "third world" country in 20 years. Manufacturing gone ! , Retail Going ! Minerals sold for a song, JOBS Gone ! What does Australia actually do apart from mining........ The smartest and best continent in the world is slowly hitting the wall. !
Rob | 16/07/2012 19:43 3
I think you’ve just about nailed it Nick. The politicians (all) of this great country, are interested only in the next election and appear to have absolutely no backbone when it comes to protecting our country, and people, from the, “Max Profit, whatever the cost” attitude of Multinational and Australian interests, be that in Mining, Farming, Land acquisition, Manufacturing, Retail etc, etc. who all appear intent on “Slicing up the Goose” and getting all of the Golden Eggs out of her. Miners talk about the huge financial risks involved in developing a mine. It appears that risk is all about how much profit they will make and how little tax they will pay. 40 yrs ago, Mt Newman mine, WA, was being developed and had Shops, Hospital, Cinema, Schools, Banks and all the normal infrastructure associated with day to day living. When a mine is developed now, it’s not only the mined material that goes overseas, everything leaves the area and, guess what, the only thing left is the Hole. We constantly have the “Level Playing Field” analogy thrown at us but hey, go to one of the many countries (mentioned here previously) and try and do anything either than stay there on a holiday, and you’ll get thrown out. (Buy some land? You’ve got to be kidding) Our company trades with Europe and let me tell you, there is no way that they allow Chinese products to flood their markets like they are allowed to here. Even the pens that they use are made there. Come on you people who put your hands up and said, “Vote for me”. Grow a backbone and do the job you are paid for. LOOK AFTER AUSTRALIA.!! (There’s only one you know)
Nick C | 16/07/2012 20:20 4
Rob, I VOTE for you so long as I can be your deputy, wont take long to fix the mess we are in, It will be called "Common Sense" and we will fix it in 2 years......
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