SBS story: Australia’s new labour scheme for Pacific Islanders gets underway
Talimanatu Uilese from Tuvalu recently begun working as a deckhand on a commercial fishing boat in coastal NSW.
He’s one of 80 Pacific Islanders who are employed in regional parts of Australia for up to three years under the new Pacific Island Labour Scheme, which will grow to up to 2,000 workers by mid next year.
The access to extra staff is vital, says Steve Basile, whose third-generation fishing business in the NSW town of Ulladulla relies heavily on foreign staff.
“Without them, we would not have a business,” he said.
Tuna Australia CEO David Ellis says the scheme allows Pacific Island workers to get experience in using commercial equipment.
“It’s that transition from a really small fishery to something that’s going to generate a really good income for the country,” he said.