New proposals being considered include replacing the current 400 subclass of visa (which allows for 6 week employment of skilled labour) to basically be extended to 12 months.
This will definitely help companies who want skilled labour, but are not willing to sponsor under the 457 process.
That said, in our experience (The Migration Place has been helping foreigners migrate since 2002), many employers see the 457 process to be more difficult than it actually is.
This is because many employers try to do it themselves (always a mistake in any area of law), or they (inadvertently) use inexperienced agents who do not know how to simplify the process for employers.

We see this proposed change as refreshing, and it also seems to be a bridging solution for companies that want a skilled foreign worker, but first want to have a probationary period before they provide a 457 sponsorship.

For more information on the current proposed changes to short term skilled labour visas, go to this link:
http://www.afr.com/Page/Uuid/093fac36-9469-11e4-b297-03ab0b07fd5d