New visa arrangements 'disadvantage locals'

sep 07 abc

The head of a south-west Queensland abattoir says the creation of a new agreement for the employment of foreign workers in the industry is not financially practical.

The agreement, signed by the federal and state governments and Australia's largest meat processor AHM, lays down minimum requirements for foreign workers, including paid English language tuition.

It also forbids pay deductions for expenses such as accommodation.

Neil Duncan from Western Exporters in Charleville says that means overseas workers will be paid more than local staff.

"We are required to pay for their medical expenses, which we don't do for Australians. Now they want these overseas workers not to be disadvantaged, but who is actually being disadvantaged here - the overseas worker or the Australian workers?

"It's quite obviously the Australian workers who are going to be put on the back foot."