Local replaced by foreign 'skilled' worker

17th May 2017 1:55 PM
UPDATED 18th May 6:44 AM
Mitchell Rock, 25 and his family after he was stood down with pay from the Kilcoy Pastoral Company. QUESTIONS: Mitchell Rock, pictured with his family, was stood down from Kilcoy Pastoral Company. Contributed

A YOUNG father of two's story has gone viral after he was allegedly stood down from his job at the Kilcoy Pastoral Company and replaced by a 457 visa worker.

Mitchell Rock, 25, moved from Narangba with his wife and two boys to start a new life in Kilcoy after he was offered a job at the abattoir.

He quickly worked his way up to a high-paying job on the kill floor and bought a house.

But he said things changed quickly for him one day when he was asked to train a man from the Philippines.

"His skills weren't up to scratch, so I said to my employers, 'Aren't 457 workers supposed to be skilled?'" Mr Rock said.

"They asked me to train him anyway, I tried for about a month but this guy just wasn't getting it.

"I'm not sure what they get trained over there. He knew a little bit but it's that much faster and that much more precise that it took him a long time to do even half the job."

Mr Rock was then demoted for complaining and was recently stood down with pay pending an internal investigation after his story went viral.

Australian Conservatives leader Cory Bernardi even picked up the story and raised it with Employment Minister Michaelia Cash.

How factual the story is remains a mystery, because 457 visas don't cover skilled meat worker positions and the Kilcoy Pastoral Company refuses to comment on employment matters.

A Department of Immigration spokesman confirmed it was "looking into this case" but couldn't comment on specifics due to privacy.

"Skilled meat worker positions cannot be filled under the standard 457 program and therefore the reforms recently announced by government will not have any bearing on skilled meat worker positions," he said.

"A meat industry labour agreement is the only pathway for an Australian meat processing employer to recruit overseas workers in the occupation of skilled meat worker."

Mr Rock didn't wish any animosity to his foreign colleagues but hoped Australians wouldn't be disadvantaged in the future.

"They're really nice people. I'm not racist or anything. I go motorbike riding with them on the weekend but I worry Australians are being disadvantaged," he said.