Jobs at risk as immigration office closes
30 June 2011
Today’s closure of the Department of Immigration’s Gold Coast office will put thousands of jobs at risk, warns local MP Steven Ciobo.
The member for Moncreiff said the Coast's education industry will be hardest hit as the city will now be less attractive for international students.
"This is a slap in the face for the Gold Coast," he said.
"The notion that Australia's sixth largest city, that has a large education sector reliant on international students, doesn't need an immigration office is ridiculous.
"Our education industry is already fighting a strong Aussie dollar, this is the last thing they need."
As international students choose to study elsewhere, Mr Ciobo said the impact will be felt right through the Coast economy.
"International students bring in a lot of money. They stay here, eat here, go out here, and shop here. All the jobs they create are now in jeopardy," he said.
Mr Ciobo said the Department of Immigration’s claims their Brisbane office and website will look after the 32,000 plus customers their Coast office deals with a year is a joke.
"These bureaucrats don't realise Brisbane can be a three hour round trip, it's not just a five minute drive up the road,” he said.
"While you can do some things on the website, pretending it’s a substitute for a physical presence is nonsense. If online is so good why aren't they closing all their offices?”
Mr Ciobo has been lobbying Immigration Minister Chris Bowen to keep the office open.
“However he is not listening or taking the Coast’s concerns seriously. Only yesterday, one day out from the office’s closure did I hear from his department.
"The reality is Labor is broke after blowing billions on failed programs such as pink batts and the so-called Building the Education Revolution and need to cut costs which means the Coast suffers."