16 July 2014

A BLOODY-MINDED and irresponsible political stunt by Labor and the Greens has directly endangered the jobs of thousands of Australians working in our critical offshore oil and gas sector by rendering essential work done by non-Australian nationals unlawful.

By voting to disallow visa regulations underpinning offshore resources work, Labor and Greens senators have created chaos and uncertainty for thousands of employees at sea, on oil and gas platforms, on drilling rigs and in a wide variety of other critical, job-creating activities.

“This union-green trickery, backed by Labor Senators, could see hundreds or even thousands of Australian and non-Australian workers in the offshore resource industry stood down,” says Scott Barklamb, executive director of resource industry employer group, AMMA.

“The disallowance impacts every offshore resources project in Australia – projects worth $200 billion to our economy and employ upwards of 70,000 Australia people.

“It doesn’t only invalidate those workers on short-term Maritime Crew Visas – the intended target of the maritime unions’ misleading scare campaign – but all non-Australian residents on offshore resources activities including those working here for years on long standing visa arrangements.

“We now have a situation of real uncertainty for business, for employees and their families.

“People working in Australia’s offshore resource industry, an industry critical to our national well-being, deserve better than to be pawns in the Labor and Greens’ political games.”

The following scenarios are practical examples of this irresponsible and short-sighted political ploy:

150 Australian workers on a specialist offshore construction vessel may be stood down, because the 70 non-Australian specialists who are critical to operating and navigating the specialist ship cannot legally do their jobs.

An entire offshore oil rig production team won’t have a supervisor and can’t do their job because their production manager is a non-Australian working here due to their specialist international experience.

Offshore construction personnel relying on their non-Australian colleagues for support and specialist expertise have had their work activities thrown into chaos.
“Skilled migrant workers comprise a tiny minority of jobs in the offshore oil and gas sector, but their specialist, international skills are critical to delivering jobs for Australians,” Mr Barklamb says.

“Imagine the uproar if Australians enjoying job opportunities around the world were subjected to such draconian and irresponsible attitudes about non-local workers.

“Labor and the Greens have done the bidding of the Maritime Union of Australia (MUA), driven by the union’s petulance because it doesn’t receive membership fees from a few hundred international specialists working on a couple of specialised vessels.

“This move potentially tarnishes our national reputation as a globally engaged place to invest, do business and employ people.”

For a PDF of this release including relevant media contact, click here.