MP visits to talk to business people

Federal Minister for Small Business Michael McCormack was in Young last week to discuss employment issues facing the area with local business representatives.

Accompanied by the Assistant Minister to the Deputy Prime Minister Luke Hartsuyker the pair hosted a roundtable discussion with the aim of forming policy and discussing current legislation.

Mr McCormack said it was important to have face to face meetings with rural small business representatives.

"We discussed important issues such as changes to the 457 visa arrangements which we know would have an effect on some businesses in Young," he said.

"We were able to hear first hand the issues they had with the changes going forward, and we are aware they do find it difficult to find seasonal workers for in some cases a very short time for picking and harvesting."

Mr McCormack said the issues of market access and energy prices were also raised at the meeting.

We discussed important issues such as changes to the 457 visa arrangements which we know would have an effect on some businesses in Young.

Michael McCormack

"Even though we have been able to broker good trade deals with overseas markets, there are still some issues with market access, and we will work to solve those problems," he said.

"Once we have a clearer understanding of the Finkel report the Government will work towards solutions to energy prices for small rural businesses.

"We took on board what was said at the meeting and some of the points raised, particularly regarding market access we will take back to Canberra, we know there are no overnight solutions but we have listened, and we do take the issues raised seriously."

Hilltops Council Administrator Wendy Tuckerman said the visit was important because there are many employment issues facing growers in the area.

"Given many of our local growers rely on seasonal labour during harvest season, it was an opportunity for them to raise their views on federal government policies and programs relating to seasonal workers and working holiday makers, to ensure this vital source of labour is readily available," she said.