Protect NT's 457 visa privileges, says Higgins


p2239-Gary-Higgins-2LETTER TO THE EDITOR
Sir – The NT Government should fight to protect the special recognition of the Northern Territory for section 457 visas under the Designated Area Migration Agreement (DAMA) in the wake of the Australian Government’s announcement yesterday.
The DAMA is the only agreement of its kind in Australia.  It was negotiated by the Country Liberals Government to recognise the Territory’s special workforce needs.
“The previous government, together with the Chamber of Commerce, worked tirelessly to increase our skilled workforce. We came away with an agreement.   We came away with a good deal for the Territory.  The Labor Government needs to fight to do the same.
These concessions include access to some occupations that are not available under the standard Subclass 457 visa arrangements and limited concessions for English language requirements and salary levels.
Labor needs to fight not just to preserve DAMA, but to strengthen and expand the program.
Gary Higgins (pictured)
Opposition Leader


  1. Wow. That was quick. Feds announce this morning they are not going to mess with the NT’s “special needs”.
    Perhaps Turnbull reached his media quota of repeating “National Interest” and “Australia’s Interest” much faster than he thought he could and then thought – gee I’m good, job done?
    Shame. Would have been good to shine a bit of a light on the realities of NT’s economics, our labour-intensive industries etc.

  2. Underlining the cosmetic nature of Trumbull’s changes to the s457 working visa scheme was Indigenous affairs minister NT Senator Nigel Scullion’s promo that the changes would have no effect on the list of occupations that Northern Territory businesses can sponsor under its sweatshop zone (the NTDAMA – Northern Territory Designated Area Migration Agreement).
    “These occupations include various agricultural jobs, childcare workers, cooks, chefs, truck drivers and a host of other jobs required to fill labour shortages in the Territory that can’t be filled by Australians workers.”
    Scullion obviously doesn’t want Australian truck drivers, perhaps especially those forced out of Rio Tinto by automation, nor cooks, nor child-care workers nor a host of other jobs required to fill labour shortages in Australia to be filled by Australian workers.
    All information relating to DAMAs is treated as commercial-in-confidence; their terms may be varied with ministerial (meaning Dutton, who has just once again and falsely smeared Australia’s refugees in the PNG camp) or departmental whim. That they are allowed to undercut such workers’ pay by 10% under the Temporary Skilled Migration Income Threshold (currently standing at $53,900) says it all about the real aim.
    Never mind that according to the DIBP website “DAMAs are designed to ensure employers recruit Australians as a first priority and prioritise initiatives and strategies to facilitate the recruitment and retention of Australian workers”.
    With commitment, those supposed vacancies could certainly be filled by Aboriginal workers.
    After 228 years of using them as sweatshop labour, our money-obsessed political class remains determined not to permit any empowerment that may break the cycle of poverty, dispossession, and rebellion.
    To such as Scullion, exploitation is always preferable.
    Observe this eagerness to destroy the positive social aspects of employment. Still, we can continue to gloat over the social problems caused by this wilful denial.
    Mainstream media loves stories about dysfunctional Aboriginal society.
    Dylan Voller (ex-Don Dale Centre) is currently being done over to make sure that he knows his place is in the gutter. Likewise, that all deprived Aboriginal children stay there.


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