Trade adviser sees seasonal labour as key to overall prosperity


Chief Trade Adviser for the Pacific Islands Dr Chris Noonan has said that seasonal labour has to be part of any trade deal between Australia, New Zealand and the Pacific Islands, such as PACER Plus.<!--more-->

"That’s where there could be major economic benefits both for Australia and New Zealand and for Pacific Island countries," Port Vila, Vanuatu-based Dr Noonan told Radio Australia last week.

Australian parliamentary secretary for Pacific Island affairs Richard Marles is currently touring the region ahead of the Pacific Island Forum leaders' meeting next month in Auckland. He has had to contend with some criticism from several quarters throughout the islands that Australia’s seasonal migration programme has lagged behind New Zealand’s acclaimed Recognised Seasonal Employer (RSE) scheme.

Vanuatu based think tank, the Pacific Institute of Public Policy’s research has underscored the economic benefits of seasonal migration. Its director Derek Brien said, “Remittances and migration pathways provide great benefits, not just to the individuals who are lucky enough to go away and find employment and education prospects that aren't available at home. But it also benefits the families back at home and the nation . . . through remittances. In some countries of the Pacific, remittances are equally as important as the domestic economy and aid spending combined.”