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Calls for considered approach to changes to international worker visa program

cattlecouncilThe Sheep Meat Council of Australia and the Cattle Council of Australia today call on the Federal Government for a considered approach to its proposal to abolish the 457 visa program to mitigate the potentially detrimental flow-on effects to Australia’s red meat industry.

Cattle Council of Australia President, Howard Smith said that as Australia’s largest food manufacturer and significant employer in rural and regional areas, the meat processing sector, which directly employs more than 200,000 Australians, it is imperative for the industry to be able to overcome skill set shortages in the domestic labour market with access to international workers.

‘Industry has struggled to find domestic workers willing to undertake the processor related roles and has previously managed the skills shortage by accessing additional labour using the 457 visa program’ he said.

“Through effective labour market policies, the Red Meat Industry Strategic Plan outlines that by 2030, from productivity benefits alone, the red meat industry can deliver an additional $2.11 billion to the Australian economy” said Mr Smith.

Fellow Sheepmeat Council of Australia President, Jeff Murray, stated that “For the sustainability of the entire red meat industry, with a processing sector that is already struggling with record energy prices and regulatory costs, it is crucial that the Federal Government carefully considers any labour market changes and the potential impact on the industries international competitiveness”. www.cattlecouncil.com.au