CHARLEVILLE meatworks operators reliant on 457 temporary visa staff to run their business say the government’s decision to abolish them could be damaging for their industry.
Grassland Cattle Australia Propriety Limited owner John Burey last year announced a $45 million upgrade to the Charleville kangaroo works.
He said he needs to employ 140 people to operate his business and relies heavily on foreign workers as their main source of staff.
“It depends on how many local people and people from away are prepared to relocate to Charleville,” he said.
“Without reliable staff or any manufacturing staff, your business can’t survive.”
Western Meat Exporters Pty Ltd owner and managing director Campbell McPhee said they currently employed 160 staff with a large majority of them former holders of 457 visas.
“They have become permanent residents and become a part of the community,” he said.
“We have 55 staff currently with 457 visas and are working towards permanent residency.
“It is very early days and the information is being quite poor in its release.
“We are hoping they will be seeking consultation going forward on the change they propose to implement.”
In a statement, Teys Australia said the 457 visa employment was important to the industry and to the economies across regional Australia as it was often difficult to find local workers.