ACMRO asks Australians to support Pacific Seasonal Worker Program

The Australian Catholic Migrant and Refugee Office is encouraging local communities in Australia to welcome seasonal workers from the Pacific region into their parishes.

As from 2 July up to 2000 places are available in 2012-13 for seasonal workers. They will be able to spend six months in Australia, working in hospitality, horticulture and other parts of the primary sector.

Kiribati, Papua New Guinea, Tonga and Vanuatu have already provided workers to three rural regions of Australia during an initial trial.

Nauru, Samoa, Solomon Islands and Tuvalu are now being invited to part of the second group of nations to take part.

Nauru has been the first from this second group to formalise the seasonal worker scheme with Australia.

“We expect many of the workers coming over to participate in the program will also be looking to attend church services and participate in the life of the parish throughout their stay in Australia” said Fr Maurizio Pettenà, National Director of ACMRO, “Parishes and local community groups are encouraged to make these workers feel welcomed and included”.

The Catholic Church, through ACMRO, has been part of the National Stakeholder Consultative Panel (NSCP) in order to assist with consultation and engagement in implementing the Seasonal Worker Program.

“The Seasonal Worker Program is an excellent opportunity to contribute to the economic development of Pacific Island countries,” said Joe Moloney, ACMRO consultant to the NSCP. “The program also offers a reliable, returning workforce to Australian employers who are struggling to find local Australian workers, especially at harvest time.”

Seasonal workers will be able to gain employment for up to 6 months in the horticultural industry helping Australian growers on crops such as citrus, cucumbers, grapes, almonds, tomatoes, sweet potatoes, stone fruit, apples and more.

“Employers who cannot find Australian jobseekers will need to guarantee seasonal workers a minimum amount of work and pay them in accordance with the relevant award or industrial instrument’s, the same amount that Australian workers receive”, he said.


Additional reading

News category: Asia Pacific.

Tags: , ,