457 Visa holders should not carry the burden

Greens (WA) Lynn MacLaren MLC has questioned the Barnett Government’s plan to introduce fees for children of 457 visa holders of $4,000 per student stating that “the Victorian Equal Opportunity and Human Rights Commission advised the Victorian government in August last year that such fees were discriminatory and did not abide by international obligations that children have a right to a free education.”

The Greens (WA) believe that education empowers people to live purposeful, satisfying lives and to participate fully as citizens in an effective democracy.  The government has a primary responsibility to fund the public education system to provide high quality education to all students.

Many parents, teachers and unions (including the SSTUWA, the Victorian Equal Opportunity Commission and UNICEF) have condemned the move believing that this will place an unfair strain on families.
“When people are considering whether to apply for a 457 visa, they take into account the costs of the move. No-one who accepted employment in WA would’ve calculated another $4000 to send each child to school. It is unfair to levy these charges now.”

“I also question the rationale for imposing these fees. Most 457 visa holders speak English: 70% as their first language and 20% as a second language. There is a tremendous benefit of learning alongside kids who have lived in other countries and cultures. I suspect that Treasury didn’t do a cost-benefit analysis of this proposal, let alone consider whether it breached anti-discrimination laws or the rights of a child.”

Read the facts about 457 visa holders here.

Read my media release questioning the Premier's decision here.

Read my media release on the Education Minister unable to give clarity on the policy here.