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-Last week, large crowds of growers attended information sessions held in the Lockyer Valley and Bundaberg, trying to gain a better understanding of the Seasonal Worker Programme and how it can help meet horticulture’s labour needs.
International delegates from Tuvalu, the Solomon Islands, Fiji, and Papua New Guinea promoted the value of their workers and current approved employers gave first-hand testimonials on how the programme is benefiting their businesses.
Representatives from the Labour Mobility Assistance Programme, the Department of Jobs and Small Business and the Office of Industrial Relations were also there.
Growcom Workforce Development Manager and Queensland Agriculture Workforce Network (QAWN) officer Karen George: “In 2017/18, Australian employers hired 914 workers from Timor-Leste, 247 from Fiji, 175 from Solomon Islands, 92 from Papua New Guinea and none from Tuvalu in the horticulture sector, compared with 2790 from Tonga and 3348 from Vanuatu. Often these smaller sending nations are overlooked but their workers are just as dedicated, hard-working and experienced.”
During the recruitment process, employers can choose to travel to the specific country to meet applicants and assist in the selection process or candidate profiles can be supplied to the employers to make their selection. Before arriving in Australia, applicants undergo a pre-departure process which includes assessing physical fitness, criminal records and health checks, as well as comprehensive pre-departure training.
Last year alone, the total number of workers employed from the 10 Pacific Island nations involved in the Seasonal Worker Programme increased from 6166 to 8457. This is an indication that interest from Australian employers in the Seasonal Worker Program is increasing.
Pacific Islands News Association
Who & What is PINA?
International News Safety Institute (INSI)
Media Helping Media