Joint Media Release – Sunday December 18 2011
Australian farmers will be able to employ workers from the Pacific Region and East Timor under a permanent Seasonal Worker Program announced by Minister for Employment, Workplace Relations, Financial Services and Superannuation, Bill Shorten MP, Minister for Tourism, Martin Ferguson AM MP, and Foreign Minister, Kevin Rudd, today.
The $21.7 million Seasonal Worker Program will begin on July 1 2012 and builds on the success of the Pacific Seasonal Worker Pilot Scheme.
“Australian employers in the horticulture sector unable to source enough local Australian workers will now be able to access a reliable, returning seasonal workforce,” Minister Shorten said.
“This valuable program contributes to economic development in participating countries, while offering Australian employers seasonal staffing help when needed. Employers will now have certainty at harvest time and seasonal workers will be able to improve their skills and have a level of financial security.”
Foreign Minister Rudd said the decision to fund a permanent program provides a clear indication of Australia’s commitment to development and engagement with the Pacific region and East Timor.
“This program will provide valuable economic opportunities for workers from the Pacific region and East Timor and will make a real difference for them and their communities,” said Mr Rudd.
“Today’s announcement is an important signal to our regional neighbours East Timor, Kiribati, Nauru, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tonga, Tuvalu and Vanuatu of Australia’s commitment to their economic development.”