Education Minister unable to give clarity on $4000 school charges for 457 workers

Media statement, Tuesday, 10 September.

In parliament today Greens MLC Lynn MacLaren asked the Education Minister why 457 visa holders must soon pay $4000 a year to put each of their children through school, the Minister could not answer questions when asked about the basis of the decided charge.

In response to the questions, the Minister explained that he could not give any clarity of the questions at that time.

“These unfair charges will put huge financial strain on families in WA, but the Minister has provided no clarity on the basis for charging the fees”, said MacLaren.

“These charges could devastate the income of hard working families who have this visa, he owes them an answer”.

Ms MacLaren also pointed out to the minister that the Victorian Equal Opportunity and Human Rights Commission advised the government that such fees could amount to discrimination, he did not comment on this issue.

“Like many of my constituents who have already contacted me, I am completely flabbergasted that the WA Government is considering these charges.”

“This is simply not fair; we are driving away workers that were helping our economy to flourish with their valued skills.”

“Everyone that resides in Western Australia should be entitled to a free, government provided, secure, education”.

Pointing out that a family with three kids would have to find $12,000 a year, Ms MacLaren pointed out that visa holders might be forced to leave WA.

“Nationally, the minimum wage is approximately $33,000 a year, those that have to pay potentially $12,000 that they have not budgeted for while making the choice to move here under the 457 visa programme.”