Foreign worker concerns spark heated meeting
Summary: CONCERNS over foreign workers being employed instead of locals at solar farms in the Collinsville region were aired at a fiery meeting outside Parliament House yesterday.....
KAP Leader and Federal Member for Kennedy Bob Katter and Dawson MP George Christensen claimed jobs in the area were being given to backpackers rather than Australians.
Mr Katter said coal mining at Collinsville had once supplied a significant amount of its coal to the power station.
"The power station is now closed and the mines also effectively closed - a once thriving town of 6000 people is in danger of becoming a town of empty houses and shattered dreams.”
He said that "the few meagre temporary jobs” the town was expecting during the construction phase of the solar farms "have not gone to people of Collinsville and Bowen”.
"The city of Townsville has the highest unemployment rate of Australia and Bowen and Collinsville have upwards of 10 per cent unemployment,” Mr Katter said.
Mr Christensen said he had also received reports of foreign workers taking jobs at the solar farms "and my stance is that Aussie workers should always get preference for Aussie jobs”.
"My understanding is that a number of these jobs were of a general nature, not specialised work, and with Bowen's unemployment rate, I would expect there would be Australians who want to fill them.”