CFMEU launches advertisements to battle against EMAs

ONE of the nation's biggest unions will launch an offensive in its battle against Enterprise Migration Agreements today, with advertisements to screen on televisions around the country.

The CFMEU has been fighting the creation of the EMAs, which aim to bring in foreign workers to fill gaps in Australia's workforce at massive construction and mining projects, since the first agreement was signed in August last year.

Late last year, the union began an online campaign, tagged "The Mining Boom: Let's Spread it Around", and a new ad will start screening on television from today.

The advertisements will depict four Australians to highlight what the union believes is a growing problem of giving such jobs to overseas workers.

It will also specifically target marginal Federal electorates, with a major focus on regional areas, in the federal election year.

CFMEU national secretary Michael O'Connor said while the mining boom had created many new jobs; it had left behind other sectors like manufacturing, tourism and education.

"This campaign is about refocusing the policies of the main political parties so the big opportunities of the boom can be seized: to reduce unemployment; provide training and jobs to a new generation of Australian workers; and invest in the communities most affected," he said.

"Now the election has been called we want to see all parties commit to better managing the mining boom and the economy for ordinary Australians."

Mr O'Connor said the "level playing field" cited by the business and industry lobby when establishing the EMAs was "a joke".

"Australian standards are not properly applied to imports, letting cheap and inferior products flood the market and putting workers and consumers at risk," he said.

"And worse, major projects, including those with taxpayer funds, are using more and more imported products, putting Australians out of work.

"We need to make sure local projects use local products, and Australian manufacturers get an even break.

"And while youth unemployment remains a major issue in communities across the country, big mining companies are continuing to bring in temporary foreign workers to build and operate mines rather than training local staff, which defies common sense."

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