IN THIS SECTION:
Pacific Islander Solution to Australian Worker Shortage
22 August 2006
The National Farmers' Federation (NFF) will today argue the case for Pacific Islanders to work during peak seasonal times in Australia to resolve acute labour shortages across the agricultural sector.
NFF Workplace Relations Chairman Duncan Fraser and NFF Manager – Workplace Relations Denita Wawn will appear before the Employment, Workplace Relations and Education Senate Committee, which is hearing evidence for the Inquiry into Pacific Region Contract Seasonal Labour.
The Federal Government Inquiry follows calls by NFF for a feasibility study to be conducted on the need to develop a Seasonal Worker Visa.
"NFF is pursuing the Seasonal Worker Visa as part of its overall Labour Shortage Action Plan,” Mr Fraser said. "This initiative is not about displacing Australian workers, but filling those critical gaps in areas where Australians either cannot, or will not, work.
"Under these circumstances, where regions cannot access adequate domestic labour – especially for peak seasonal demands, then it stands to reason we need to look for alternative sources of labour.”
NFF support for a Seasonal Worker Visa is conditional on strict criteria, including:
"NFF is buoyed by the findings of the World Bank Report, 'Expanding job opportunities for Pacific Islanders through Labour Mobility', released last week,” Mr Fraser added. "This authoritative, independent Report supports the NFF's proposition in delivering mutual benefits to bolster PacificIsland skills and economic development, while addressing Australia's debilitating labour shortages.”
NFF will appear before the Committee at 10.45am today in Committee Room 2S1, Parliament House, Canberra.
Media Enquiries: Brett Heffernan, NFF Public Affairs, (02) 6273 3855 or 0408 448 250 email:
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