Member for Wannon, Dan Tehan, said businesses faced higher costs or workforce shortages because of the new Labor Government visa policy.
From 1 July, Labor has increased the minimum wage that a temporary migrant worker must be paid, up from $53,900 to $70,000.
Labor has been warned this change will have a negative impact on regional businesses and communities, where salaries, and the cost of living, tend to be lower than the large cities.
Businesses will have to pay temporary migrant workers the new higher wage, which will increase business costs, or face losing the worker, leading to workforce shortages.
If migrant workers can’t find a job paying the new higher wage, they will have to leave the country or qualify for a different visa.
Leading experts warned the Labor Government about the damage this change would cause as part of its Review of the Migration System:
Mr Tehan said Labor’s change would have a devastating impact on regional communities like Wannon.
“Most businesses in Wannon can’t afford to give workers a $16,100 pay rise, so that means letting workers go who have put down roots in our community,” Mr Tehan said.
“We should be doing everything we can to support skilled workers to make their home in Wannon, and Labor’s visa changes will be like a wrecking ball through our community.
“When people in Wannon can’t get their children into childcare because of a lack of educators, they can blame Labor. When people can’t get a meal at the pub because there’s no chef, they can blame Labor.
When the price of fresh fruit and vegetables goes up because of worker shortages on farms, they can blame Labor.
“Any business or worker that is impacted by this change should contact my office so we can try to help.”
There are more than 67,000 migrant workers in Australia on temporary work visas, and 57,200 supported family members.
Mr Tehan said regional and rural Australia was bracing itself for worker shortages.
“Labor’s one-size-fits-all approach will have a devastating impact on regional businesses and the migrant workers who live in country towns,” Mr Tehan said.
“The Government was warned about the impact of this change, but they ploughed on anyway because it keeps the unions happy.”