24 Apr 2008

Australia to look at allowing Pacific workers temporary jobs

11:46 am on 24 April 2008

Australia has invited the Papua New Guinea government to submit a detailed proposal on a scheme that could allow its workers to take up temporary jobs in Australia.

Pacific nations have been pressing Australia to allow their citizens to do seasonal work in Australia.

Canberra has said it will evaluate the outcome of a Pacific workers program operating in New Zealand, and hopes to make a decision by August.

Foreign Affairs minister Stephen Smith, who was in the resort town of Madang for talks with PNG ministers yesterday , says Australia wants to make a decision on the general issue in time for the Pacific Leaders Forum meeting in Niue in August.

Earlier this week, the Australian Workers Union threw its support behind calls for a seasonal workers program.