May 21, 2018

Hansard – Statements By Members – Visas – Monday, 22 May 2018

Federation Chamber
Mr ALBANESE (Grayndler) (16:26): Last year, the Turnbull government, in conjunction with Peter Dutton, the minister for the newly formed Department of Home Affairs, announced major changes to Australia’s visa processing system—namely, to privatise the design and delivery of all visa services over the next five years. These changes will come into effect from 1 July. It is quite extraordinary that any national government that speaks about the national interest and national security is prepared to transfer that responsibility to the private sector, which, by definition, operates on the basis of profit.

This is a plan that’s opposed by the Community and Public Sector Union because it will lose up to 3,000 jobs from the Department of Home Affairs. There are also plans to introduce a tiered visa-delivery system, with premium services available at an additional price. In flat terms, this means that if you can afford to pay more you can skip the visa processing queue, which is another attack on those less fortunate from the coalition. Additionally, the $2 billion in revenue generated by the current system will no longer be available for our schools and hospitals. This is a bad plan. The government needs to walk away from the privatisation of these services.