Labor making workforce shortages worse

Member for Barker Tony Pasin MP says local businesses are facing higher costs and 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, 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 the large cities.

Businesses will have to pay temporary migrants workers the new higher wage, which will increase business costs, or face losing the worker, leading to 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.

The National Farmers Federation has warned that if the Temporary Skilled Migration Income Threshold (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 Early Learning and Care Council said that 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.


Mr Pasin said that Labor’s change would have a devastating impact on regional communities including in the Riverland.

“Businesses like Venus Fruit Co. simply can’t afford to give workers a 30 per cent pay rise, so that means letting workers go who have put down roots in our community,” Mr Pasin said.

“We should be doing everything we can to support skilled workers to make their home in the Riverland and Labor’s visa changes are doing the opposite.”

“When people in Barker can’t get their children into childcare because of a lack of educators, they can blame Labor. When people can’t get a meal at the pub because there’s no chef, they can blame Labor. When the price of fresh fruit and vegetables go up because of worker shortages on farms, they can blame Labor.”

There are more than 67,000 migrant workers in Australia on the temporary work visas, and 57,200 supported family members.

“Labor’s one-size-fits-all approach will have a devastating impact on regional businesses and the migrant workers who live in Riverland communities,” Mr Pasin said.

“The Government was warned about the impact of this change but they ploughed on anyway because it keeps the unions happy, but it comes at the expense of businesses like Venus Fruit Co.”

The third-generation family business exports produce it sources from 38 Riverland citrus growers to more than 20 countries around the world as well as supermarkets across Australia.

“For the past 40 years, P.Costi and Sons has been contributing to South Australia’s economy through horticulture and boosting the region’s population by employing locals and overseas workers,” said Mr Pasin.

“Labor is doing nothing but making it harder to do business in our regions,” Mr Pasin said.


Media Contact: Charlotte Edmunds 8724 7730