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The real impact of 457 Visas

The Australian Motor Industry Federation (AMIF) says the 457 Visa debate should return to reality rather than distorting what is really happening in regional and rural communities across Australia.

AMIF says commentary by Government, politicians and others that the current 457 visa scheme is ‘riddled with rorts’; that there should be a cap on 457 Visa’s and Australians should be at the head of jobs cues are a gross distortion of the facts and an emotive response to a valuable source of expertise.

AMIF CEO, Richard Dudley said an environmental scan conducted by national automotive training body, Auto Skills Australia,reveals a current nationwide shortage of 19,000 skilled mechanics alone.

‘If we could find 19,000 skilled mechanics in the Australian-based workforce, we would employ them, but they simply do not exist.We have an environment where automotive businesses are closing each week with lack of staff a key reason,’ Mr Dudley said.

‘The Federal Government’s own Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations (DEEWR) has reconfirmed the shortages we are experiencing with a decision to retain a status of shortage against many automotive professions appearing on the skilled migration list in only the last few weeks. DEEWRs says for all positions advertised nationwide on average only half are filled,’ Mr Dudley said.

AMIF says the Governments commentary that the Mining and Resources Industry are not high end 457 Visa users distorts the realissues and the real impacts, “ Mr Dudley said.

“While the mining industry may itself not utilise 457 Visas to a great extent, the facts are that this industry has already vacuumned local communities across the nation of people including mechanics, other motor trades professionals and other skilled workers and this combined with a diminishing labour pool mean 457 Visas are essential to maintain the expertise needed to provide services.

"In Emerald, Queensland, the local new hospital could not source nurses because they had been employed by the mining industry to drive trucks! In the same regional centre a local vehicle retailer is flying in mechanics from Brisbane on rotation and employing others under 457 Visas to replace the mechanics, body repairers and others who all went to the mining industry.'

Mr. Dudley said the Australian automotive Industry is a high end user of 457 visas and will continue to draw heavily on this employment strategy otherwise there is a real potential of Australia’s reliance on road transport grind to a halt in regional and rural areas.

“Rather than continue to generate some sort of employment class war and social concern, government should be working with all parts of industry together to better plan for a diminishing labour pool, impacts of globalisation and the needs of all Australians to access all the services they need.

For more information or for comment, please contact Mr Richard Dudley, Chief Executive Officer of AMIF on (02) 6273 8222 or 0412 146 828.

AMIF supports calls for fair competition policy

AMIF supports calls for fair competition policy The Australian Motor Industry Federation (AMIF), which represents 100,000+ automotive retail, service and repair (RSR) businesses, employing 310,000 Australians and contributing in excess of $160 billion to the economy, supports the principles of the ‘Lets Have Fair Competition’ report, released today by Master Grocers Australia (MGA).

“It is time for Government, the Opposition, policy makers and regulators to give proper consideration to the long term public interest when determining competition policy. The automotive RSR sector has seen first hand the effect of the dominance of the supermarkets upon its independent fuel retailing members; no longer do Australian consumers have access to true competition at the petrol pump with independent petrol stations now few and far between“ said AMIF CEO, Richard Dudley.

“The very issues at the heart of the MGA report are the very issues which have decimated competition at the petrol pump, and as a result Australians have less choice as to where to fill up their tanks. The grocery and liquor retailing sectors are heading down the same road,” he added.

AMIF urges all levels of government to support fair and diverse competition in the Australian market place and supports the MGA’s call for competition policies that provide a level playing field for competitors, irrespective of their size or market share.

“Short term consumer benefit should never come at the expense of long term public interest. It is clear past policy decisions, or lack of them, have created today’s environment which will, if unchecked, ultimately disadvantage consumers,” Mr Dudley said.

For more information or for comment, please contact Mr Richard Dudley, Chief Executive Officer of AMIF on (02) 6273 8222 or 0412 146 828.

Fuel discounting is killing competition

The Australian Motor Industry Federation (AMIF) today said motorists should enjoy fuel discounts while they could – because within a few short years there will be no independent competitors left to tackle the market power of the two supermarket giants.In backing recent criticism of the discounting activities, AMIF, the national voice of State and Territory Motor Trades Associations and Automobile Chambers of Commerce, said independent fuel retailer members were being driven out of the market and the ultimate losers will be consumers. “The central issue is poor legislation and regulation and the inability of the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission(ACCC) to take action as a result.” said AMIF CEO, Richard Dudley.

Over summer the Federation and its members have again complained to the ACCC over practices it believes is eliminating or substantially damaging independent fuel retailers including:

  • The seemingly never-ending ‘temporary’ ‘double discounting’ shopper docket offer, which started in late October 2011and was extended twice until the end of January 2012;
  • The social responsibility of offering even higher discounts (up to 16 cents per litre) by combining alcohol purchases with fuel purchase; and
  • The apparent cross subsidisation of fuel discounting by increasing the size of the discounts subject to making other purchases from businesses within the two supermarket groups (up to 28 cents per litre in one instance).

“Consumers may benefit from apparent discounted fuel prices for now, but if current trends continue, then in the near future consumers will have no choice other than to fill up their car at sites controlled by only two or three fuel retailing giants, whose market power will determine the price paid at the pump.”

“We have many examples particularly in regional and rural Australia where motorists, once served by up to six or seven usually family operated franchise outlets, now only have the choice of one or the other supermarket giants."

“Hundreds of independent fuel retailers have closed nationwide over the last decade and the remainder are under extraordinary pressure to survive. They cannot compete against the increasing market power of the two dominant supermarket chains, their discounting and cross-subsidisation activities and they cannot speak out in fear of reprisals from fuel suppliers."

“The resulting loss of these independent retailers creates a snowball effect of creeping acquisition by those left in the market and reduced competition, which, ultimately, will cripple this particular small business sector and be to the significant detriment of consumers”.

For further information please contact the Australian Motor Industry Federation (02) 62738222 or 0412 146 828