Senate debates

Thursday, 1 August 2019

Questions without Notice: Additional Answers

Pacific Labour Scheme

3:10 pm

Photo of Linda ReynoldsLinda Reynolds (WA, Liberal Party, Minister for Defence) Share this | Hansard source

Yesterday during question time I took on notice a question from Senator Chisholm, and I'd like to respond now. In answer to the question, the government is responding to the genuine need of employers who cannot find enough Australian local workers to meet their labour needs. Australia is firmly committed to growth of the Seasonal Worker Programme and the new Pacific Labour Scheme, which deliver outcomes for Pacific Island countries and also for Australian businesses. The Pacific Labour Scheme commenced on 1 July 2018, and since that date 217 Pacific workers have taken up work opportunities in Australia through the scheme. We're confident that the Pacific Labour Scheme will grow substantially. Our experience from the Seasonal Worker Programme indicates strong growth, but over time. In 2018-19 there was 44 per cent growth compared to the previous year—that is, in 2017-18 8,459 workers were granted visas, and in 2018-19 that grew to 12,200. Australian businesses use a mix of visa programs to meet their increasing labour needs. Pacific labour mobility programs are a government priority. Matters relating to the issue that Senator Chisholm raised on the Working Holiday Maker visa program should be referred to the Home Affairs portfolio.

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