Julia Gillard Rejects Claims Migrant Intake Threat To Jobs

Julia Gillard rejects claims migrant intake threat to jobs

John Masanauskas and AAP
Article from: Herald Sun
February 20, 2009 09:40am

The Federal Government has rejected research which shows its $42 billion economic stimulus package will not save jobs unless Australia's immigration intake is slashed.

The Monash University report says the Rudd Government was running a record high migrant intake while job prospects for locals were bleak amid the global economic crisis.

“On the face of it, Labor's migration program constitutes a direct challenge to the interests of domestic workers,” the report says.
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“It will add a huge influx of job seekers at a time when the bargaining power of domestic job seekers has taken a turn for the worse.”

But federal Employment Minister Julia Gillard rejects the claims.

“It seems to me that this research could not be right,” she told ABC Television.

“We are expediting the immigration of people who have the skills that we need.”

The report, Immigration and the Nation Building and Jobs Plan, will be released today by Monash's Centre for Population and Urban Research.

Authors are demographers Dr Bob Birrell and Dr Ernest Healey, and labour market expert Bob Kinnaird.

Last year the Government increased annual permanent migration by 37,500 places to about 200,000 people.

That is about the same number of Australian school leavers and uni graduates who will be looking for work over the next year.

The number of temporary skilled migrants sponsored by employers has also grown rapidly, reaching almost 60,000 last year.

The report says the Government's $42 billion stimulus package to protect Australian jobs was compromised by high migration figures.

“If the migration program is not cut sharply, the growth in migrant job seekers will exceed the number of jobs the stimulus plan proposes to protect,” the authors say.