Tony Abbott with MP Joanna Gash. Source:

Member for Gilmore, Joanna Gash has said that she doesn’t understand why the government has decided to allow Gina Rinehart to import 1700 foreign workers for a new mine in Western Australia.

Mrs Gash believes there are plenty of Australians looking for work who would be happy to snap up the positions. She wants funding to go towards

“I can understand if they can’t get any Australians to work,” she said. “That needs to happen first. If there’s still not enough people that can go to those locations then certainly we look at overseas migration.”

In 2006, Gash headed a program to draw local people looking for work to Western Australia by setting them up with a job and a $5000 bonus.

She says that pilot program was a success and is disappointed that the current government has not taken up the opportunity to get more people into work. Under the plan, several workers moved their whole families to Western Australia.

Gash says unemployed people should be more flexible and take up the opportunities where they fall.

“Australian workers have to be prepared to move,” she said. “If there’s work available somewhere and you’re living somewhere where there’s no work available I have no issue with asking them to move to where there is work.”

Gash says there are plenty of unemployed people in her electorate who would jump at the chance to be employed in these jobs.

“There are people ringing us up every day looking for work,” she said. “We had two this morning.”

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