THE HON DAN TEHAN MP
Shadow Minister for Immigration and Citizenship
Member for Wannon
THE HON MARK COULTON MP
Member for Parkes
3 July 2023
Labor making workforce shortages worse in Parkes electorate
Federal Member for Parkes Mark Coulton said businesses in the electorate of Parkes faced higher costs or workforce shortages because of new Labor Government visa policy.
From 1 July, Labor has increased the minimum wage that a temporary migrant worker must be paid (Temporary Skilled Migration Income Threshold or TSMIT), up from $53,900 to $70,000.
Labor has been warned this change will have a negative impact on regional businesses and communities, where salaries, and the cost of living, tend to be lower than those in large cities.
Businesses will have to pay temporary migrant workers the new higher wage – which will increase business costs – or face losing the worker, leading to worsening workforce shortages.
If migrant workers can’t find a job paying the new higher wage, they will have to leave the country or qualify for a different visa.
Leading experts warned the Labor Government about the damage this change would cause as part of its Review of the Migration System:
- “If TSMIT is raised to $90,000 or even $70,000 then the likely result would be that agriculture will no longer be able to use the skilled migration program — or at least have its use severely restricted — thereby losing yet another important avenue for accessing labour,” the National Farmers’ Federation said.
- Raising the TSMIT to $70,000 would exclude 23,000 workers in the hospitality and retail industries and 7,800 workers in the manufacturing industry nationally, according to the Chamber of Commerce and Industry Western Australia.
- “A significant increase to TSMIT in the immediate future would result in a large proportion of the early learning workforce – and many care sectors – being locked out”, the Early Learning and Care Council said.
Mr Coulton said Labor’s change would have a devastating impact on regional communities in the Parkes electorate.
“Most businesses in the Parkes electorate can’t afford to give workers a $16,100 pay rise. That means letting workers go who have put down roots in our community,” Mr Coulton said.
“We should be doing everything we can to support skilled workers to make their home in our towns but Labor’s visa changes are ultimately going to do the opposite.
“Any business or worker that is impacted by this change should contact my office so we can try to push for the Labor Government to rethink this decision.”
There are more than 67,000 migrant workers in Australia on the temporary work visas, and 57,200 supported family members.
Shadow Minister for Immigration and Citizenship Dan Tehan said regional and rural Australia was bracing itself for worker shortages.
“Labor’s one-size-fits-all approach will have a devastating impact on regional businesses and the migrant workers who live in country towns,” Mr Tehan said.
“The Government was warned about the impact of this change but they ploughed on anyway because it keeps the unions happy.”