Call to ensure 457 visas flexible

THE heads of Australia's top 100 companies have called on the Federal Government not to introduce "any more onerous" conditions on enterprise migration agreements.

The Business Council of Australia will launch a major report into the nation's investment pipeline, its potential and risks to the delivery of major projects on Thursday.

Among the recommendations of the report was a call on the government to ensure that temporary migration visas (457 visas) and enterprise migration agreements (EMAs) were flexible and efficient.

The government controversially approved an EMA for a Pilbara iron ore project last week that would allow up to 1700 foreign workers to help build the huge mine.

A similar agreement has not been ruled out by the owners of the Alpha coal mine in Central Queensland to fill part of its required workforce.

The BCA report said that 53% of the $921 billion pipeline of major projects was proposed for areas north-west of the Brisbane Line (eg: the line between Brisbane and Adelaide).

Of that mammoth sum, mining, oil and gas projects make up 45%, while transport infrastructure comprises 31% and education, health and community services and electricity generation each make up 6%.

The vast majority of the proposed investment would come from private sources, with 71% or $656 billion while 18% or $169 billion would be public projects and the remainder, $96 billion, would be public-private partnerships.

Research commissioned for the report showed that in Queensland, the investment pipeline was already generating $22.1 billion and $28.1 billion in gross state product.

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