Pacific seasonal work scheme ‘a winner’

Campaigns and Advocacy, Media Releases article written on the 17 Aug 2008

Oxfam Australia welcomes the Government’s announcement today of a pilot seasonal scheme for Pacific workers.
A seasonal work scheme could provide a release valve on pressure for employment for the rapidly growing youth population in the Pacific Islands, while opening up new opportunities for skills development and cultural ties across the region.
However, this should be just the beginning of improving Australia’s relations with with Pacific nations.
"A seasonal worker labour program for Pacific Island communities is a winner,” Oxfam Australia Executive Director Andrew Hewett said.
“As part of building sustainable rural livelihoods as a framework for economic development, the remittances of a seasonal work scheme can be invested in school fees, better housing and local businesses in Pacific nations.
“With the right standards to protect workers, it can generate income for many Pacific island communities and assist Australian farmers who face severe labour shortages.
“This should be just the beginning of improving Australia’s relations with with Pacific nations. Australia can lead the region in tackling the impacts of climate change, helping prevent violence against women and providing support to citizens of Pacific states in holding their governments to account.”
Oxfam has been working in the Pacific region since the 1960s, particularly in Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands, Vanuatu and Fiji. Oxfam’s work focuses on conflict reduction and peace building; livelihoods – particularly the impacts of mining, forestry and trade; disaster management, and sexual health and HIV.
Gender, youth, and social and political citizenship are cross-cutting themes that recognise the significant role of increasing the rights and opportunities of women and young people in the development of the Pacific Islands.
Oxfam has offices in Papua New Guinea (Port Moresby and Goroka), Solomon Islands and Vanuatu.
For further information or to interview Andrew Hewett, please contact Laurelle Keough, Oxfam Media Coordinator – Advocacy and Campaigns, on 0409 960 100.