Samoans to work in Australia under the Pacific Labour Scheme

Prime Minister, Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegaoi signing the two agreements with Australia’s new Minister of Foreign Affairs, Hon. Marise Payne in Nauru yesterday

By Asenati Taugasolo Semu

NAURU, WEDNESDAY 05 SEPTEMBER 2018: Samoa has joined Australia’s Pacific Labour Scheme where workers join those from Kiribati, Nauru, Solomon Islands, Tuvalu and Vanuatu to undertake non-seasonal work in rural and regional Australia.

This was one of two agreements the Prime Minister, Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegaoi signed with Australia’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, Hon. Marise Payne in Nauru yesterday.

The Pacific Labour Scheme commenced 1 July 2018 and provides Pacific island workers with opportunities to gain valuable skills and income, and assists businesses in rural and regional Australia.

The workers also contribute to Australia’s economy by filling roles Australian businesses have proven they cannot fill with local workers.

Pacific Medicines Testing Programme
Samoa and Vanuatu also signed another agreement with Australia yesterday to participate in Australia’s Pacific Medicines Testing Program.

The Program, which aims to assure the safety of medicines in the region, provides participating countries with the opportunity to have up to five medicines tested per year, at no cost, in Australia’s world-class testing facilities at the Therapeutic Goods Administration.

Three of the tests provided are for commonly used antibiotics and medicines to treat non-communicable diseases. The remaining two tests are for responsive testing where a potential problem has been identified with a medicine by a participating country.

Kiribati, Nauru, Solomon Islands, Tonga and Tuvalu are currently participating in the program, which Australia aims to make available to countries across the Pacific.

The Prime Ministers of Vanuatu, Samoa and Solomon Islands are all smiles after signing the two agreements with Australia’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, Marise Payne in Nauru yesterday

Meeting Australia’s new Minister of Foreign Affairs
In thanking the Australian government, Prime Minister Tuilaepa touched on Ms Payne’s appointment as the new Minister of Foreign Affairs.

“We have a saying in Samoa that nothing occurs without a reason.”

Tuilaepa said if it wasn’t for the recent changes in the Australian Government, he would never have met Ms Payne.

“Thank you to you and your government, we are very thankful to be accessing your medical care services and also opening up your employment scheme.”

Tuilaepa also acknowledged other benefits that Australia provided for the Pacific, like the Australian Pacific Technical Centre (APTC) that provides training and Australian accredited qualifications for Pacific islanders.

Ms Payne said the signing reflected the close relations Australia has with their Pacific neighbours.

“We have seen over 25,000 workers from the Pacific travel to Australia for work, and the Seasonal Worker Scheme will continue to be accessed by other Pacific Island countries.

“We think the scheme is a win-win for Australia and the Pacific.

The scheme allows Pacific workers to work in Australia for up to three years.

Ms Payne said since the recruitment of workers from the Pacific in 2012, $144 million in net income gains were injected back into the region.

She also said the Pacific Medicines Testing Program that commenced in August 2017, is part of Australia’s commitment to strengthen its engagement for a more resilient, safe, secure and prosperous Pacific.