Relax immigration laws, says Woodside

November 16, 2007, Sydney Morning Herald:

The head of one of Australia's biggest resource companies wants the next federal government to relax immigration laws so that more skilled workers can be recruited from overseas.

Don Voelte, CEO of Woodside Petroleum, said a shortage of skilled workers was one of the reasons Australian mining companies were not meeting global production targets.

"The rest of the world...are willing to trade professions and jobs lot more freely than maybe what some of the immigration laws here allow," Mr Voelte told ABC-TV.

Mr Voelte said the government needs to look at relaxing 457 working visa conditions especially the length of time a worker could be in country and the amount of sponsorship companies could provide ...
I'm not smart enough to have an answer, except to say that instead of "global production targets" we should be talking of Australia's national interest, and that of our allies. Who knows, maybe "worker shortage" could mean: unecessary mining excess purely for business interests.


Anonymous said...

It is interesting that Don Voelte's response to his labor woes is to try and import people from outside of Australia. Why not treat the ones you have like gold instead. Woodside have had a steady flow of extremely experienced people walk out their front door for the one reason that they treat their people poorly, not seeing their true value. Take for instance earlier this year , a flurry of inappropriate emails from Woodside top management, instigated by Don Voelte, concerning a past employee trying to give advice about how they could have better managed people with families in overseas positions ( middle east ). This set of emails painted Don Voelte and his minions in a very bad light, showing them as being short sighted and unable nor willing to see true employee issues. Recently Woodside have tried to keep people from running to another job by giving them a golden hand cuff, though this wouldn't need to happen if they started to realise that they need to make significant changes to the way the treat people and of course keeping the properly remunerated. Don might say that pay scales are off the chart but so is price of petrol, the price of fruit and veg and so is the price of housing.

Don, Your company needs a Cultural facelift and needs to get a real grip on what working families really need. Why don't you listen for once.

Abandon Skip said...

Yes, all true. But when the government sets the rules of the game to be "globalisation - compete or die" it tends to breed ruthlessly efficient types of businessmen. The likes of Don Voelte are efficiency machines, and cultural considerations are rarely comprehensible to them.

Nothing wrong with efficiency, but bringing in more foreign workers has to be justified in the national interest, not just Woodside's.