SENATOR PENNY WONG
LEADER OF THE AUSTRALIAN LABOR PARTY IN THE SENATE
SHADOW MINISTER FOR FOREIGN AFFAIRS
LABOR SENATOR FOR SOUTH AUSTRALIA
PAT CONROY MP
SHADOW MINISTER FOR INTERNATIONAL DEVELOPMENT AND THE PACIFIC
SHADOW MINISTER ASSISTING FOR CLIMATE CHANGE
SHADOW MINISTER ASSISTING FOR DEFENCE
SHADOW MINISTER ASSISTING ON GOVERNMENT ACCOUNTABILITY
MEMBER FOR SHORTLAND
The Morrison-Joyce Government’s announced changes to Pacific labour mobility programs fail to address the most critical issues the schemes are currently facing.
Labor supports the Seasonal Workers Program and the Pacific Labour Scheme and has been calling on the Morrison-Joyce Government to improve both schemes to be more attractive for workers and employers.
But the changes announced by Minister Payne today fail to address key issues:
- The vulnerability of Pacific workers to mistreatment, which is damaging the reputation of the programs in Pacific countries; and
- The urgent need for the Federal Government to introduce a national quarantine system to give farmers more access to Pacific workers.
The Morrison-Joyce Government has also failed to guarantee that its proposed new agricultural visa won’t undermine Australia’s Pacific labour mobility programs.
These programs are a key element of Australia’s Pacific Step Up.
They are an important way of tackling labour shortages in regional Australia while also supporting economic development and incomes in the Pacific.
Instead of improving the schemes, Mr Morrison has sold Pacific workers out to satisfy his National Party colleagues, while doing nothing to solve critical worker shortages for farmers who need workers now.
Labor will examine the details of today’s announcement but is disappointed that the Government has failed to tackle the most urgent issues facing Australia’s Pacific labour mobility programs.
Authorised by Paul Erickson, ALP, Canberra.