WESTERN Province Premier Honourable Billy Veo wants to see more people in the province recruited for the Australia Pacific Labour Mobility Scheme.
Mr Veo made this statement when meeting with the new Australia High Commissioner to Solomon Islands His Excellency Rod Hilton today at the Premier’s Office in Gizo.
He said a lot of westerners wanted to participate in the labour mobility scheme but could not afford to travel to Honiara to register and fulfil other requirements.
Therefore, he said it is best if an office is established in the province to make it easier for the struggling people in the province.
The new Australia High Commissioner to Solomon Islands is currently visiting Western Province.
Mr Hilton assured the Premier that Australia wanted to work in partnership with Western Province Government through the Solomon Islands National Government to ensure there are more jobs for Solomon Islanders right across this beautiful country.
He said more jobs mean more money flowing into communities, which means more opportunities.
About 5000 Solomon Islanders are now working under the Australia Pacific Labour Mobility Scheme.
Mr Hilton added that infrastructure projects supported by the Government of Australia have also employed thousands of people across Solomon Islands and Australia hoped to expand that further.
“I’ve heard about the premier’s ambitious plans and we hope to sit down and continue to work through those. We’re also very pleased to have a discussion on labour mobility,” he said.
“We have about 5000 workers in Australia right now as we speak and last year, those workers sent back about $200 million Solomon Dollars in one year.
“We hope that will grow this year, and there’ll be more and the premier has made clear his priority on this and he would like to see more people from Western Province represented in that labor mobility. It’s a message I’ve heard.
“We hope we can work this year to grow that number. Make it easier. I understand the Solomon Islands Government has worked very hard this year to make sure people don’t need to fly to Honiara to register anymore, that will be able to now be done in this next round online.
“So people, more people will have the opportunity without having to travel the Honiara and I hope to see many more people from the Western Province, visiting Australia, working in good, high paid jobs and being able to send that money back to communities, whether that’s to build houses, start businesses, support families, and get the economic direction going, and the economy here growing as per the Premier’s very ambitious plans,” he said.
On Wednesday and Thursday Mr Hilton will be visiting Kolombangara, Noro and Munda with representatives of Strongim Bisnis.
By ULUTAH GINA
Solomon Star, Gizo