News

MP says overseas workers vital

blueberry / Photo Jamie Brown / The Northern Star
blueberry / Photo Jamie Brown / The Northern Star

OVERSEAS workers and backpackers are essential to the fruit-picking industry, the Member for Page Kevin Hogan has told a meeting of local business people.

Mr Hogan was addressing the Grafton Chamber of Commerce's monthly breakfast meeting when he was asked about foreign ownership of land and overseas workers.

A member of the chamber executive, Mark Butler, asked Mr Hogan what the government was doing to combat countries like China buying up large tracts of Australian land and the prospect of those owners employing Australian workers.

"We've got that fear of the potential tax income disappearing out of the country," Mr Butler said.

"What is the Federal Government doing to tighten those laws to ensure that foreign ownership doesn't impact on the Australian economy."

Mr Hogan said the government, led by the Nationals, was fighting foreign ownership.

This included setting a minimum property sale of $15million before the sale was brought to the Foreign Investment Review Board.

Mr Hogan said the limit in 2013 had been $250million.

"Even then I think that's ($15million) too high, but at least it's cumulative so, if they buy an $8million and a $7million property, they appear on the board's radar," he said.

He added the two major parties (Labor and Liberal) largely did not see this as an issue.

On the labour force question, Mr Hogan said the country needed foreign workers, whether they were backpackers or on other work visas.

"If you're at Wagga and you want to get your oranges off, or at Coffs with your blueberries, we would not get it off if we did not have backpackers and these 457 visa workers," he said.

"It's an issue because the unemployed in this country won't do it. We can go into it and why it doesn't happen, but that's a different issue.

"Right now our farmers can't rely on Australian workers to do these jobs."

Mr Hogan said "hundreds of thousands" of people in Australia were now doing those jobs and they were essential.

Topics:  457 visa, chamber of commerce, fruit picking, kevin hogan



Last hurrah for 2016 in Sydney for Midnight Basketballers

FAST BREAK: A player dribbles down the court at the Midnight Baskeball grand finals night.

Midnight Basketball has wrapped up another successful season.

Young girl with big plans in the surf

SURF'S UP: Maclean grommet Lilli Young is ready to show what she's got at the Hurley BL's Blast Off junior competition in Sydney.

Lilli Young could be a name worth storing in the memory bank

Swap meet and vintage car display at Maclean, Sunday

Greg Dennis at the Grafton Vintage Car Club Show and Shine in South Grafton earlier this year. The club has swap meet and display at Maclean Showground on Sunday.

Swap meet and car display at Maclean on Sunday.

Local Partners

WATCH: Justin Bieber grabbed in Germany

A video has emerged of singer Justin Bieber being attacked

Why The Wrong Girl is right for Jessica Marais

Jessica Marais and Ian Meadows in a scene from the TV series The Wrong Girl.

ACTOR makes the sometimes awkward character her own in new comedy.

What's on the small screen this week

Jessica Marais in a scene from the TV series The Wrong Girl.

A NEW romantic comedy debuts while footy codes ramp up for finals.

Airbourne talk drop bears, beer and taxes

Airbourne have a new album coming out and a new tour on the way.  Photo Contributed

Airbourne release album for the aussie battler

Pippa Middleton had 3000 private photos stolen

Author Pippa Middleton

Author's account hacked to access 3000 private photos

Gruen star discovers the body's limits in new hit TV show

Todd Sampson tries out MMA fighting during TV series BodyHack.

Gruen star pushes the limits in new TV series

UPDATE: Former rodeo champ's sale rained out, now back on

Larkhill local Ken Consiglio is having an auction of most of the things on his property.

'People kept showing up and we had to turn them away'

Couple build their own 'tiny house' for $45k

Holly Bowen and Oli Bucher built their "tiny house" themselves, only hiring a plumber and an electrician. Photo/supplied

The house, which is built on a trailer and can be towed.

Sunshine Beach property breaks real estate record

The property overlooks Sunshine Beach, as the backyard lawn meets the sand.

Sunshine Beach mansion sale smashes real estate record

NEW HOME: Agents to the rescue for family of nine

RELIEF: Tanya Cone (middle) with her kids and McKimm's Real Estate property managers Regan Firth and Nadine Greenhalgh who helped find her family a home.

DEX article prompts property managers to help family find new home

SOLD: Historic hotel finds new owner

Post Office Hotel Grafton

Photo Adam Hourigan / The Daily Examiner

Pub in new hands and heading in a brand new direction

Peppers Airlie Beach put on the market

ON THE MARKET: Peppers Airlie Beach is being for recievership sale by CBRE Hotels and PRD Nationwide Airlie Beach.

Peppers Airlie Beach is being offered for sale.