26 Feb 2009

Australia's trial seasonal workers scheme discussed at PNG meeting

12:03 pm on 26 February 2009

Australia's trial seasonal workers scheme was discussed at Papua New Guinea's top-level government talks yesterday.

PNG's National Executive Council or NEC, comprising cabinet ministers, senior bureaucrats and advisers, discussed policy direction at the meeting at Wabag, Enga Province, in the Highlands region.

The pilot workers scheme will give about 500 to 1,000 Papua New Guineans a chance to work in Australia's horticultural industry that needs fruit pickers.

PNG's Foreign Affairs Minister, Sam Abal, has made a final submission on the workers scheme for the NEC's approval that will then be taken to Australia for consideration.

Mr Abal previously assured Australia a strict selection process and policy would be created and, as such, delays have occurred in getting Papua New Guinean workers abroad.

Earlier this month, the scheme's first 50 workers arrived from Tonga.