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Pacific “push” for 10,000 workers

In a bid to see 10,000 workers from the Pacific find employment in Australia, Pacific Trade Ministers are urging Australia to give incentives to companies there to hire people from countries like Samoa.Speaking at the Forum Trade Ministers’ Meeting (FTTM) press conference on Friday, Deputy Prime Minster Fonotoe Pierre Lauofo said Australia and New Zealand have not changed their position in any significant way.The current Australian position is that labour mobility would not be included in Pacer Plus negotiations.Instead it would focus on strengthening its Seasonal Worker Programme (SWP).“So what the Pacific Island Countries are trying to push for through the negotiations is to increase the number of workers,” said Fonotoe.“And we are also trying to push the Australian government or been urging the Australian government to look at providing some incentives for Australian companies so as to encourage them to hire more Pacific workers.”Fonotoe said Australia and New Zealand would prefer to deal with labour mobility as a separate issue.