INDIVIDUALS or organisations who have engaged the services of an Australian migration agent are encouraged to share their experiences in a new inquiry. Federal Parliament’s Joint Standing Committee on Migration is set to examine the regulation of Australian migration agents.
The Committee Chair, Jason Wood MP, said it is important to ensure that Australian migration agents are acting professionally and are properly certified.
“Migration agents play an essential role in Australia’s migration programs assisting business, skilled and student migrants and their families with their visa application. Unregistered or unlawful migration agents can not only damage the credibility of our visa regime but also significantly impact on the lives of visa applicants and their families,” Mr Wood said.
“The Committee will also examine integrity issues associated with the Electronic Travel Authority visa including visa cancellation rates and non-compliance with ‘no work’ conditions,” he said.
The Committee will also consider the registration and regulation or migration agents; deficiencies and barriers to relevant authorities' investigation of fraudulent behaviour; evidence of the volumes and patterns of unregistered migration agents and education agents providing unlawful immigration services; and reviewing the appropriateness of migration agents providing other services to clients.
The Committee invites submissions to the inquiry by Friday, April 27, 2018.
To obtain more information about the inquiry, including the full terms of reference, and to find out the various ways in how to participate, visit the inquiry website: www.aph.gov.au/mig.
The Committee is unable to intervene or provide advice in relation to individual circumstances.
Interested members of the public may wish to track the committee via the website.
WITH recent retail sales showing a weak trading environment for retailers, the Australian Retailers Association (ARA) proposes a 1.9 percent minimum wage increase to bring balance back into such a difficult operating environment.
Russell Zimmerman, Executive Director of the ARA, said Australian retailers are continuing to face an overwrought market and an increase in line with inflation is the best way to preserve employment within the retail sector.
“Given the constant rise in rental prices, energy costs and slow retail growth, this 1.9% increase will allow retail to maintain its position as Australia’s largest private employer,” Mr Zimmerman said.
“Last week’s January trade figures highlighted the incessant struggle retailers are facing, therefore this year’s minimum wage review needs to benefit both employers and employees working in the sector.”
With many of Australia’s best-known retailers facing re-structuring and store closures, the ARA have consulted their membership base in order to make their recommendation.
Numerous small, medium and large retailers have told the ARA that an increase in the minimum wage beyond 1.9 percent would be detrimental to their businesses, leading to negative impacts for employees.
“The ARA’s submission has outlined the difficult trading environment in the retail sector due to rising cost pressures, unsustainable rents, increasing competition and weak consumer confidence,” Mr Zimmerman said.
“With weak sales growth and wage levels well above our international competitors, it’s critical that the Fair Work Commission (FWC) acknowledge the volatile economic trading conditions when making their decision,” Mr Zimmerman said.
The ARA’s position preserves the value of the minimum wage over the recent years where wages have been outstripped by increasing price growth throughout the industry.
“We strongly recommend this wage increase remains realistic and reasonable for all businesses as our members are constantly experiencing significant cost pressures through international competition and reduced margins,” Mr Zimmerman said.
“We trust the FWC will determine the best federal minimum wage increase during this shifting period where large sectors of the economy are either in decline or receiving minimal growth.”
To view the ARA’s Minimum Wage submission to the FWC, click here.
About the Australian Retailers Association:
Founded in 1903, the Australian Retailers Association (ARA) is Australia’s largest retail association, representing the country’s $310 billion sector, which employs more than 1.2 million people. As Australia’s leading retail peak body industry, the ARA is a strong pro-active advocate for Australian retail and works to ensure retail success by informing, protecting, advocating, educating and saving money for its 7,500 independent and national retail members throughout Australia. For more information, visit www.retail.org.au or call 1300 368 041.
The 2018 ASEAN-Australia Codeathon, which brings together experts from around the region to work on new approaches to counter terrorism financing, will get underway in Sydney on Wednesday, March 14..
AUSTRAC, Australia’s financial intelligence agency, will host the 32-hour event involving about 100 technology and innovation specialists in the lead up to this week’s ASEAN-Australia Special Summit 2018.
AUSTRAC CEO, Nicole Rose PSM, will formally launch Codeathon on Wednesday morning, with the theme ‘Leveraging innovation to combat money laundering, terrorism financing and cyber risks’.
On Friday March 16, the Minister for Law Enforcement and Cyber Security, Angus Taylor MP, will announce the Codeathon event winners.
The Judging Panel includes, Tony Sheehan, the Commonwealth Counter-Terrorism Co-Ordinator, Dr Maria Milosavljevic, Chief Information Security Officer for the NSW Government, Dr Alex Johnston, Head of Technology, Thomson Reuters Australia, Alex Scandurra, CEO Stone and Chalk, Paul Xuereb, Secretary Blockchain Association of Australia, Dr John Moss, National Manager, Intelligence, AUSTRAC and Leanne Fry, Chief Information Officer, AUSTRAC.
Wednesday 14 March
7.45am - Registration opens. You will be required to present photo ID.
8.30am to 9.00am - Opening ceremony, including announcement of challenges, with celebrity MC Adam Spencer.
Friday 16 March
7.45am - Registration opens. You will be required to present photo ID if it is your first time attending this event.
8.00am to 10.00am - Awards Ceremony, including door stop interviews.
THE LATEST quarterly figures from Queensland Treasury again demonstrate exports from resources are powering ahead and lifting the state’s prosperity.
Queensland Resources Council (QRC) Chief Executive Ian Macfarlane said the sector is a key driver of growth in Queensland and its top-drawer deposits are in high demand.
"Despite the predictions of green activists, the value of thermal coal exports surged 18 percent while the worth of LNG exports lifted 15 percent. Demand for these commodities is expanding from both developing economies in Asia and established economies," he said.
“Thermal coal and LNG increased 34 percent and 36 percent in value over the 12 months.
“A good sign the global economy is healthy is reflected in copper demand and the base metal outshone all other commodities over the three months achieving 60 percent growth. The copper story in Queensland looks good with the Australian Bureau of Statistics recording a 41 percent jump in exploration funding last week.
“Coking coal was still feeling the effects of Cyclone Debbie down for the quarter but still achieved a 23 percent increase in value over the year.
“Resources are the state’s largest export industry which last year generated more than 70 per cent of total merchandise export value and supported close to 300,000 jobs including a 12 percent lift in full-time employment.”