29,000 workers in Australia

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Australia’s Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade Assistant Secretary Pacific Labour Policy and Engagement Carli Shillito at the Pacific Austalia Labour Mobility (PALM) scheme reforms regional consultation at the Hilton Fiji Beach Resort and Spa in Denarau Nadi. Picture: REINAL CHAND

MORE than 29,000 Pacific Australia Labour Mobility (PALM) workers are in Australia, as of September 30 and an additional 40,000 pre-screened workers are awaiting job offers.

Assistant secretary for the Pacific Labour Policy and Engagement Carli Shillito shared the data at this week’s PALM (Pacific Australia Labour Mobility) Reform Stakeholders Consultation in Nadi.

Ms Shillito, who leads the PALM scheme work at the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade in Canberra, said the Australian government was committed to the scheme’s expansion and improvement.

Ms Shillito said the Australian Government has announced several measures to improve and expand the PALM scheme, and has committed to ensuring that stakeholder perspectives inform the detailed policy design of the scheme.

She indicated the key commitments to reform the PALM scheme included family accompaniment for long-term PALM scheme workers, relocating the Australian Agriculture Visa within the PALM scheme, reducing the burden of upfront travel costs for employers and strengthening worker protections.

Ms Shillito said her branch has been leading a series of stakeholder consultations to gather views and feedback on the proposed reforms to Pacific labour and over 20 consultations – both face to face and virtually have been held so far in Australia.

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