Bosses demand separate quarantine facilities for foreign workers

Bosses across the Northern Territory have used the cover of ‘skills shortages’ to lobby the government to build a second quarantine facility at the former detention centre Bladin Village – 50 kilometres from Darwin – for the exclusive purpose of flying in foreign workers and students:

The NT Farmers Association and Hospitality NT want to use Bladin Village — a former detention centre 50 kilometres from Darwin, previously known as Wickham Point — to help bring in foreign workers for industries including agriculture, hospitality and construction.

They say the facility could also be used to quarantine international students who wish to study in Australia…

The facility has the capacity for more than 1,400 people and, under the NT Farmers’ proposal, it would be run by the Federal Government, with states and territories contributing to operational costs.

Industries would pay $2,500 per person for the 14-day quarantine period…

Hospitality NT is backing the NT Farmers’ proposal for Bladin Village, with CEO Alex Bruce saying he hopes it will help his industry solve a 7,000-worker shortage.

Here’s a novel idea: if these businesses are struggling to find workers they should offer higher pay. None of these roles are ‘skilled’ and all could be filled by the resident workforce with a little training.

The notion that the Northern Territory is experiencing acute worker shortages flies in the face of the Territory’s abysmally low wage growth of only 1.6%:

Northern Territory wage growth

Northern Territory wage growth remains abysmally low.

If labour shortages are so acute, then why aren’t wages rising as employers compete for staff?

And why is the Northern Territory’s labour underutilisation rate still so high?

NT labour underutilisation rate

Northern Territory’s labour underutilisation rate remains high.

Clearly, the notion of widespread labour shortages has been dreamt up by employers to coerce the government to open the immigration floodgates. Because having ready access to cheap foreign workers is an easy way to cut back on labour costs and remove the need to provide training.

The business lobby is right to insist on expanding the nation’s quarantine capacity in low risk locations like Bladin Village. But this capacity must be reserved first and foremost for the tens-of-thousands of Australians still stranded abroad.

Unconventional Economist


  1. my toranaMEMBER

    Howard Springs at 850 capacity and this place 1400? wow. but if they can’t hire the staff to service the increase in capacity at Howard Springs, how will they find the staff for whatsisname, this one.

    • That is the skills shortage they are try to fix. Slaves looking after teh new slaves.

  2. Lord DudleyMEMBER

    Ha ha ha ha! Australian citizenship is damn near worthless. This is what Australians voted for, over and over! If it weren’t for my elderly mother, I’d frankly never set foot in Australia again. It’s cursed! Once you went full “lock up kids in concentration camps”, there’s no bottom. Any government that will do that is quite happy to turn on its own citizens; in fact, I’d argue it’s inevitable. Stick a fork in Australia, it’s done. Your future is to devolve into just another corrupt “Southern” resource based economy. Take a look at the history of Argentina to see where you’re headed.

    I’ll certainly have a big smile on my face in my US naturalization ceremony.

    From George Carlin, but updated to suite Australia’s harsh conditions™ (there’s another joke):

    “Now, there’s one thing you might have noticed I don’t complain about: politicians. Everybody complains about politicians. Everybody says they suck. Well, where do people think these politicians come from? They don’t fall out of the sky. They don’t pass through a membrane from another reality. They come from Australian parents and Australian families, Australian homes, Australian schools, Australian churches, Australian businesses and Australian universities, and they are elected by Australian citizens. This is the best we can do folks. This is what we have to offer. It’s what our system produces: Garbage in, garbage out. If you have selfish, ignorant citizens, you’re going to get selfish, ignorant leaders. Term limits ain’t going to do any good; you’re just going to end up with a brand new bunch of selfish, ignorant Australians. So, maybe, maybe, maybe, it’s not the politicians who suck. Maybe something else sucks around here… like, the public. Yeah, the public sucks.”