Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk says she hopes regional hospitals will not suffer from the Federal Government’s changes to the 457 visa system.
Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull announced the Coalition was abolishing the 457 visa system, replacing it with two new classes of visa.
Current visa holders will not be affected by the changes, which will see the introduction of two new temporary skills visas — a two-year visa and a more specialised one for four years “targeted at higher skills”.
Speaking at the opening of the new Sunshine Coast University Hospital, Ms Palaszczuk said although she preferred locals to fill jobs, many regional health districts relied on foreign doctors.
She accused the Federal Government of failing to fund training places for local medical students.
“What we are seeing from the Federal Government is saying one thing and doing the opposite,” Ms Palaszczuk said.
“What we do know is that especially with health in parts of rural and regional Queensland, it is very important that we still allow some of those specialised visas for people to come and work in those communities.
“If they want to scrap 457 visas without showing us the detail of the policy, they had better make it very clear why they are not giving us the training places.”
Victoria’s Labor premier has welcomed the 457 visa changes, despite his federal Labor colleagues taking a more cautious approach.
Premier Daniel Andrews said “these are welcome changes” to the foreign skilled worker program, after Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull axed the 457 visa scheme on Tuesday.
“I think most Australians would welcome a visa system where if there is a genuine shortage, if there’s a genuine need to import skills, then you have a facility to do that, but it’s in a very tight set of rules,” Mr Andrews told reporters on Wednesday.
“I think most people would say that that was a step forward.
“I would point out though that creating jobs is more than just changing visas.”
Federal opposition leader Bill Shorten tweeted “the only job Malcolm Turnbull cares about saving is his own” on Tuesday, while Labor MP Ed Husic said the party would wait to see details before deciding their position on the visa changes.
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