8 Sep 2006

Australian Labour Party backs World Bank labour mobility report

9:56 am on 8 September 2006

The Australian Labour party is backing a plan for Pacific Islands workers to be allowed into Australia for short-term labouring work, despite a conservative think tank giving such a scheme a damning assessment.

A Federal senate committee has been taking evidence for months on the question of whether Australia should set up a specific migrant labour visa scheme in agriculture and horticulture for Pacific Islanders.

A Centre for Independent Studies report out this week stated such a scheme would take away the few employment opportunities available to Australia's long-term unemployed.

But Labour's Pacific Islands spokesman Bob Sercombe said the report was flawed.

He says unlike the CIS, the World Bank has produced a compelling case based on extensive household surveys in the region, which show the benefits to Pacific Island economies of labour mobility.

He says the World Bank also says that Australia would benefits by hundreds of millions of dollars from such a scheme.