8 Jul 2019

Just 203 Pacific workers under new Australian scheme

1:55 pm on 8 July 2019

A labour scheme at the centre of the Australian government's Pacific step-up has delivered just a tenth of the jobs it had forecast.

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison addresses the media at Parliament House in Canberra, 13 February 2019.

Scott Morrison Photo: AP

The scheme had been described by Prime Minister Scott Morrison as "a genuine win-win partnership".

The Australian reported Mr Morrison saying, "this is our patch. This is our part of the world. This is where we have special responsibilities".

But Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade figures show just 203 visas were issued to workers under the scheme in its first full year of operation, from last July, despite acute labour shortages in many rural and regional areas.

But Foreign Minister Marise Payne said the scheme had been "enthusiastically received" by the Pacific and would grow.