THE Australian High Commissioner to Vanuatu Jenny Da Rin was in Mareeba last Friday to visit Vanuatu workers who are living and working in the community as part of Australia’s labour mobility arrangements with Pacific Island countries.
The workers are part of the Pacific Labour Scheme, which provides regional employers an opportunity to access workers when local labour is not available. The Pacific Labour Scheme enables workers from Pacific island countries and Timor-Leste to work in Australia for a period of three years.
The Pacific Labour Scheme (PLS) and the Seasonal Workers Programme (SWP) are ways for eligible businesses in regional and remote Australia to recruit workers from the Pacific islands and Timor- Leste when they can’t fill jobs locally.
They are demand-driven and employer-sponsored visa schemes, meaning eligible employers have control over who they recruit and which countries they want to recruit from, with participating nations being Kiribati, Nauru, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tonga, Tuvalu, Fiji, Timor-Leste and Vanuatu.
“I am absolutely delighted to be here in Mareeba, it’s my first visit and I’m here to advance Australia’s interest overseas as well as interact with the communities on how we can continue to better them,” Ms Da Rin said.
“My visit to Mareeba has provided me the opportunity to speak with Pacific workers in the community to see how they’re going and what their goals are.
“In addition, I have spoken with employers in the region who are part of the labour scheme to find out just how beneficial the Pacific workers have been on the profitability of their business.”
One such employer who is reaping the benefits of the PLS is Luke Posma of Posma Bananas.
He spoke glowingly about the positive contribution Pacific workers are having on his business.
“I currently employ 13 workers under the Pacific Labour Scheme and will look at hiring more in the future,” he said.
“Not only is it great as they have a fantastic work ethic, it’s also beneficial as it provides me with a reliable workforce who are happy to be there and that’s all I can ask for as an employer.
“I would like to take this opportunity to thank Kasey Rudd and her staff from Powerpac who do a wonderful job organising the labour hire for not only myself but other employers in the region too.”