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Greens move bill to protect local jobs from Rinehart-style EMA deals

Greens Deputy Leader and workplace relations spokesperson Adam Bandt says the government's deal with Gina Rinehart has revealed the threat to local jobs from Enterprise Migration Agreements (EMA).

Mr Bandt says the Greens will give notice of legislation today to regulate EMAs and ensure that the government and employers are required to put local jobs first.

The Protecting Local Jobs (Regulating Enterprise Migration Agreements) Bill 2012 will regulate Enterprise Migration Agreements, including: forcing employers that get an EMA to advertise jobs to locals before accessing foreign workers; creating a local jobs board to source local workers; allowing requirements to be placed on employers to train locals; and prioritising employment for locals, recently retrenched workers and other groups with high unemployment.

Mr Bandt also said there is too much secrecy surrounding the Rinehart deal and he called on the Minister to table the Roy Hill agreement in the Parliament.

"The Greens want to put local jobs first", Mr Bandt said.

"The deal with Gina Rinehart is just the first of many such projects in the pipeline. If we don't take action, thousands of locals may miss out on jobs."

"The Rinehart deal highlights the danger of leaving these agreements to the discretion of the Minister. We need to properly regulate Enterprise Migration Agreements with legislation. This bill will prioritise local jobs and extend existing guidelines around EMAs."

"The PM's promise of a Jobs Board is not enough. Parliament needs to legislate to ensure that employers and the government put local jobs first. My Protecting Local Jobs Bill will ensure migration agreements can work for everyone, not just the big miners. The bill will make sure jobs are advertised to locals, before an Enterprise Migration Agreement can be made."

"The more we learn about this deal with Gina Rinehart the more concerns we have. The Minister needs to table this deal in Parliament so it can be properly examined."

Protecting Local Jobs (Regulating Enterprise Migration Agreements) Bill 2012

The bill will amend the Migration Act and the Fair Work Act to put in place legislative framework for EMA's, which are currently entirely in the realm of Ministerial discretion.

The bill will amend the Migration Act and the Fair Work Act to:

1. Ensure the employer has taken steps to seek local employment for the jobs intended to be the subject of the EMA, including advertising for employment and consulting the 'local jobs board'.

2. Create a 'local jobs board'.

3. Permit the Workplace Relations Minister to require a corporation using an EMA to employ and train a certain number of Australian residents, including residents from certain categories, which may include:

i) people living near the project in question;

ii) people recently retrenched;

iii) CALD communities with high unemployment;

iv) indigenous people; or

v) people from regions of low-employment.

4. Permit the Workplace Relations Minister to introduce an additional levy on corporations using EMAs as a contribution towards the costs of improving the skills of Australian citizens or permanent residents.

5. Ensure that Australian wages and conditions and OHS standards are not compromised where EMAs are used.

6. Require EMAs to be made public.

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