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The end of the 457 visa program, while welcome, is a distraction from bigger immigration issues.Australian residents’ access to jobs, housing and adequate infrastructure is most impacted by the historically high permanent immigration quota, yet there is no word that this will be moderated.While the list of jobs eligible for temporary workers has been culled of trivia such as goat herders and antique dealers, it is unclear whether the visa changes will improve prospects for graduate nurses and engineers.Our low-skilled school leavers, seeking work in warehouses and convenience stores, are more likely to be gazumped by foreign students, usually illegally exploited.Farmers claim that they need foreign workers to fill seasonal jobs, yet the government’s harvest-jobs advertising facility remains virtually unused. Unless the immigration changes reduce Australia’s population growth, infrastructure crowding, underemployment and household debt levels will only escalate.[It is] time for root-and-branch changes, not window-dressing.
Jane O’Sullivan, Chelmer, QldVisa abolition fake news Well, what a scam, confidence trick or whatever one would like to label the LNP abolition of visas as announced by Prime Minister Turnbull.Because the figures, according to Roy Morgan Research, put the number of unemployed in Australia at 9.2 per cent in excess of 1.1 million, Australians are in dire straits.The 457 visa has come under constant attack as employers import workers in order to pay cheap wages, as happens in many instances.Prime Minister Turnbull thinks he can hoodwink the Australian public by changing the name that applies to all these overseas workers, and splitting them into two separate groups; one group can stay for two years and the other for four years, there are a few very minor rule changes but essentially nothing has changed.This is simply designed to relieve the political pressure of the anger directed at the LNP government for allowing tens of thousands of 457 visa holders into Australia to do everyday Aussies out of a job.Shaun Newman, Townsville, QldI, robot, seeks work While 457 visas should be replaced, the planned changes don’t cover all cases.The fastest-growing component of our workforce, both skilled and unskilled, doesn’t get a mention. They are our robots, and we should have protection against those assembled overseas taking the jobs of Aussie robots.The visa application form simply needs the additional question: Are you a robot? In those cases where robots provide fake information, pretending to be human, we’re lucky to have Peter Dutton in charge who can instantly spot them by their expressionless faces.Philip Telford, TaragoChristians crucified Give the Christians a break from persecution for having the temerity of having the view that “marriage” is the expression of the biological duality of the human race and the procreation of children not just “our love choice”.When we legislate “same-sex marriage” this will no longer be “marriage” as we understand it now. However, roll on, whatever, we are all fed up with the “non debate” including Christians being accused of being homophobic, right-wing reactionaries!Sylvia Miners, Isabella PlainsEver harder for young My 24-year-old daughter works in retail, a job she loves and has been doing for the last six years. Due to her time mostly as a casual she has low income, no savings and will have even less superannuation to rely on as she gets older.She was at university, but the erratic and mostly badly rostered hours ended up in more stress than was necessary and she had to defer. She also could not afford the textbooks, the costs to drive from Woden toCU and then pay for parking.Public transport is not a great option for young girls at night.She cannot move out of home as affordable rentals are impossible to find and so I support her as much as a self-funded retiree with no income can.She is desperate to be more independent and study, but she sees it as an impossibility leading to stress, depression and frustration. To lose her weekend penalties puts her dreams even further from reality.Why is this LNP government making it harder for our kids every day?Maree Duffy-Moon, ChifleyMy poor country Y’know, we had a sunburned country,But I think we’ve just been burned,By polticians takin’ salaries homeThat they’ve never, ever earned.They stood up for election,With stirrin’ tales so grand,Of how they’d stick up for the people,Who had built this great proud land.But when the votes were counted,And they found that they had won,The thoughts of how they’d conned themob,Became a random bit of fun.Then, like a mob of hungry pigs,Who had found a trough of swill,They used their snouts, found all the perks,And simply gorged their fill.And when asked how they would serve theland,They simply looked nonplussed,”Sir, we are all the elected hereWe think the country should serve us!”Alan May, Isabella Plains Written on the wind As colder weather approaches, Canberrans may become aware of an apparent increase in furtive emissions.These occur as a result of surreptitious release of wind in congested areas, for example inner suburban apartments, restaurants, and shopping malls where increased populations gather.It is unclear whether increased furtive emissions are associated with climate change.Peter Baskett, Murrumbateman, NSWArguments all hot air The Canberra Times will have to do a lot better than its editorial “Decentralising public service a fool’s errand” if it is going to make a rational case for Canberra public servants to stay put.No arguments were brought to bear in that burst of hot air.The major case to rebuff is why departmental operations are not part of the nation’s information industries and therefore ideally suited to gradual decentralisation as the NBN is rolled out.Taking a positive approach, now that the limit of a “10-kilometre radius of Parliament House” that was raised in the Department of Immigration proposals of 2015 is no longer a constraint, workers on the south side could make a case for the definition of Tuggeranong as a country town. At least that’s the way Mr Barr sees it with his stupid never-never proposals for a tram network and CBD development.I welcome this debate as a wake-up call to the Barr government. Instead of basing the city’s economy on property development and public servants, they should be focused on generating new jobs that could stem from our sizeable tertiary education and research sector.The Griffin quote displayed in the Regatta Point Planning Exhibition – “I have planned a city that is not like any other in the world” – should replace the existing quote on Northbourne Avenue as a reminder to the government to stop flouting Griffin’s dream and planning to hide its unemployed behind a Northbourne Avenue facade.John L. Smith, FarrerJust when I thought Barnaby Joyce’s absurd ramblings proposing to locate Australian Public Servants to rural areas seemed to have run its course, we now have equally ridiculous proposals from his deputy, Fiona Nash.Although it appears that the policy has Coalition endorsement, the Nationals appear to be running with it. Nash states that she will be preparing the template for ministers to decide if their departments are suitable victims of this ill-conceived policy.The cost of moving the APVA to Joyce’s electorate of Armidale, a mere 200 or so public servants, is $26 million. This figure would not take into account the cost, in terms of loss of experience, of the resignation of a large number of the staff from the Authority.It is clear that the cost of the policy will be astronomical at a time we are supposed to be addressing an enormous budget deficit.The Nationals, having failed their rural constituencies, are now on a course which will gut the experience base of the APS in a selfish attempt to keep their backsides on the Treasury benches. The Liberals, equally mercenary, are seeking to aid and abet them.It represents the biggest pork barrelling exercise in Australia’s history and the two parties deserve to be roundly condemned.If Turnbull had any backbone he would put a stop to it.Arvi Biela, GordonDecentralisation is a jolly good idea, eh? Australia is big, but the people crowd into a few cities and moan about the price of housing.But it seems to me that Canberra, instead of being part of what is decentralised, should be seen as an example of how decentralisation can work and the sort of resources which need to be put to work to make it happen. May it continue to flourish .The prime candidates for decentralisation are the three big eastern cities, Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane. If you want to use public servants as the “seed” populations for new centres, take them from there.The state governments can also do their bit instead of wringing their hands and achieving nothing with regard to housing affordability, by decentralising some of their public service .The other component required, apart from warm bodies, is normal amenities and services for these people. Simply dumping them in some country town is not going to achieve much. It needs a n…