A total of 71 Ni-Vanuatu workers will be recruited to begin work as fruit and vegetable pickers on five different farms at the Maroochy SunShine, Pacific Crop Harvesting PTY LTD in Australia by Tuesday next week.
Vanuatu’s Department of Labour, through its Recognized Seasonal Employment (RSE) Scheme has encountered another milestone that it believes should keep the ‘ball rolling’ for recruitment to Australia.
The Commissioner of Labour, Lionel Kaluat, was pleased to inform everyone from Torba to Tafea that another seasonal employer from Australia is interested in recruiting workers from Vanuatu on a trial and if Vanuatu proves itself reliable and honest then he (the employer) would consider increasing the number of workers.
Emmanuel Bani is a Papua New Guinea national with dual Australian citizenship. He is a director of the Pacific Crop Harvesting, a specialist farm-work labour hire company; employing people from different countries globally with a majority from the Australian South Sea Islanders (ASSI) communities.
The Commonwealth of Australia accredits Pacific Crop Harvesting and is the only company out of many others in Australia that was permitted for recruiting in Vanuatu.
In his recent trip from Australia to meet the commissioner, Bani said shortage of laborers at the farms has prompted him to recruit workers from neighboring Melanesian countries-Papua New Guinea, Solomon and Vanuatu.
He said he initiated Pacific Crop Harvesting in 2009 for his Melanesian brothers.
Referring himself as a Melanesian, he said: “ I have come for everyone and I wanted that the whole population must benefit a 100% from this arrangement.
“I know there is a large population out there on the islands and Vanuatu is already participating in the RSE Scheme and at a fast phase not like the Solomon Islands and PNG are slow.
“We (Melanesians) need this business. However, Ni-Vanuatu workers must also bear in mind that unlike New Zealand, there is tougher competition in Australia; workers who want work in Australia must know the language of Sydney, Bundaberg or Canberra.
“Before I came to Vanuatu, I did not have the mindset about history that our Melanesian blackbirded descendants through their sweats have prepared everything in advance as erecting roads and farms. The government of Australia owes us.
“Whilst the Australian Government is not responding yet, by this scheme, we are receiving back benefits and communications would open up between Vanuatu and ASSI”.
Vanuatu has waited long enough for Australian market, said the commissioner.
He assured the Australian Employer that his department would work with the agents to make sure that by March 25, his requested 71 workers are identify, orient and arrange as suitable workers to send to Australia.
Commissioner Kaluat has approved David Abel from the Vete Co operative Savings &Loan Sty Ltd and Johnston Tau from the Vanuatu Labour Market to operate for employers as seasonal employment agents for Bani in Vanuatu.
Both the commissioner and Bani warn all Ni-Vanuatu RSE workers plus those people who may be fortune to be part of these 71, against drunken behavior as this scheme is of best benefit for Vanuatu with indication it can expand in the next years…
PORT VILA, (VANUATU DAILY POST)