The kids are OK

Port Douglas & Mossman Gazette - - FRONT PAGE -

ATEC has re­jected claims by the Aus­tralian Coun­cil of Trade Union’s pres­i­dent that Aus­tralia’s Work­ing Hol­i­day Maker (WHM) visa im­pacts neg­a­tively on youth em­ploy­ment op­por­tu­ni­ties, high­light­ing clear re­search show­ing its sig­nif­i­cant eco­nomic con­tri­bu­tion.

‘‘The ev­i­dence is clear, WHMs cre­ate jobs in Aus­tralia, make an enor­mous eco­nomic con­tri­bu­tion and are the lifeblood of many re­gional towns around the coun­try,’’ ATEC chair­man John King said yes­ter­day.

‘‘In ATEC’s po­si­tion pa­per The Im­por­tance of the Work­ing Hol­i­day Visa, we showed that for each 100 WHM visi­tors to Aus­tralia, 6.3 full­time equiv­a­lent (FTE) jobs are cre­ated – the no­tion that th­ese visi­tors are tak­ing jobs from young peo­ple is sim­ply wrong.

‘‘With cur­rent vis­i­tor num­bers un­der the WHM pro­gram, this equates to around 11,000 FTE jobs in Aus­tralia.

‘‘Th­ese visi­tors are only able to work for short pe­ri­ods of time with one em­ployer and of­ten help fill un-skilled and semi-skilled roles in peak pe­ri­ods, not long-term ca­reer po­si­tions.’’

Mr King said the ATEC po­si­tion pa­per had out­lined sig­nif­i­cant con­sump­tion and spend­ing the WHM un­der­takes while in Aus­tralia, stay­ing around eight months on av­er­age and spend­ing over $13,000 while they are here, in turn cre­at­ing more jobs.

‘‘The WHM pro­gram is a sig­nif­i­cant driv­ing force in at­tract­ing back­pack­ers to Aus­tralia and it al­lows them to fund their stay and to travel lo­cally, thus con­tribut­ing to Aus­tralia’s re­gional economies. ATEC has been strongly ad­vo­cat­ing for changes to the WHV that will al­low th­ese visi­tors to stay longer and, there­fore, spend more and our po­si­tion pa­per showed they con­trib­ute nearly $600 mil­lion to our goods and ser­vices spend an­nu­ally.’’

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