Cut the politics out of immigration: Linfox

Linfox boss weighs into immigration debate, urging more honesty and less politics on migrants

Cut the politics out of immigration: Linfox
Cut the politics out of immigration: Linfox
By Ruza Zivkusic | February 25, 2011

Linfox has weighed into the immigration debate, urging more honesty and less politics to allow migrants to enter the workforce in Australia.

Linfox CEO Michael Byrne has criticised the current debate on migration, which has centred on asylum seekers and population growth.

He says the transport and logistics industry is "crying out" for more workers and that Australia must embrace migration if it wants to retain a vibrant economy.

"We debate the arrival of 3,000 boat people when far more arrived from Indo-China in the late 1970s who are now well integrated into our community," Byrne told the Australian Logistics Council’s annual forum.

"During the last election we debated a sustainable population in a country that has one of the lowest population densities amongst advanced communities.

"It is time that governments and the community tackled these people issues with a more honest and less political approach."

Byrne says the average age of a Linfox truck driver is nearly 50 years, but there are "massive logjams" in issuing skilled migration visas.

He questioned the teaching of European languages and history in school despite the fact Australia’s trade with Asia continues to expand.

"If we want to remain a vibrant industry and economy, well past this resources boom, we must embrace the region and nurture highly skilled and educated people to continue developing our economic strengths," Byrne says.

During his speech, he told the audience Linfox was spending $9 million a year on its education budget.

"Training and educating our people is an absolute commitment to Linfox," Byrne says.

He says the company recruited 60 graduates over the past five years, with 90 percent of those later landing managerial careers with Linfox.

"We must develop our people’s full potential if we are to grow as a business and this is true for our industry and Australia’s and the region’s economy," Byrne says.

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