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Published on : Wednesday, November 27, 2013
Far from taking jobs from young Australians, working holiday makers add to demand in our economy, creating business and employment opportunities across Australia, according to peak national industry group, Tourism & Transport Forum (TTF).
TTF Chief Executive Ken Morrison said working holiday makers are a very valuable group of visitors.
“The average working holiday maker spends more than $13,000 during their eight-month stay, adding demand for goods and services to the Australian economy and helping to support tourism jobs and businesses as they travel around the country,” Mr Morrison said.
“Contrary to claims by the ACTU that working holiday makers are taking jobs from young Australians, this has the effect of creating net demand for goods and services, delivering job opportunities in both our cities and regional Australia.
“Indeed, at 4.2 per cent, the youth unemployment to population rate remains at historic lows.
“Claims that youth unemployment is rising are simply incorrect and ignore the long-term improvements in education participation by young Australians.
“Closing Australia off from the economic and cultural benefits of international tourism is not the answer.
“Australia should instead be looking to create economic opportunities and grow employment through greater openness and flexibility.
“TTF believes a longer-term view is essential, as the working holiday maker visa scheme is the first step in what can become a lifelong engagement with Australia.
“Working holiday makers get to know our country during a formative part of their lives and they come back in later life with fond memories of Australia and the time they spent here.
“We see great potential in expanding the working holiday maker scheme to other countries aligned with our broader international engagement and are urging the federal government to work towards lifting the cap on working holiday maker numbers from key markets in Asia, like Malaysia and Indonesia.
“We would also like to see the scheme extended to countries Australia is targeting with our tourism marketing, like China and India, giving young people from those countries the opportunity to get to know Australia intimately and form those valuable, lasting relationships that are so beneficial to our economy.
“We know these negotiations take time so we would like the federal government to put these countries on the agenda in the near future.
“In addition, while the reciprocal nature of these arrangements means more international working holiday makers are coming to Australia than Australians taking up rights in other countries, fluctuating economic fortunes mean that will not always be the case and there may come a time when Australians head overseas in greater numbers.”