Fiji’s Minister for Employment Praveen Bala is confident of positive outcomes for Fijians on long-term contracts under the Pacific Australian Labour Mobility Scheme keen to have their families join them over the course of their employment in Australia.
However, he warns that the results of the PALM Reform consultations, held in Nadi this week, will also hinge on the repute of current workers including 108 who were farewelled today in Suva, appealing to them to maintain the positive standing set by their fellow countrymen who had gone in previous deployments under the same scheme.
“It is my humble request, to keep our name every time, because the brand name that we have right now, it was not just appeared overnight, year in and year out, our Fijians have worked hard to give us that branding,” Mr Bala told those readying to depart during a farewell ceremony held at the Khastriya Hall in Suva today.
“We have employers erom Australia visiting us, they have that faith and confidence in our Fijians, so let’s make use of it, not only that I also want to share that there is also a lot of demand for our FIjians.
“We hope that you all will be good ambassadors and will open many doors of opportunities for your brothers and sisters to experience the same. Do good. Work hard, listen to your supervisor. You will have group leaders, listen to them. You just don’t go there and become leaders yourself. At this juncture, I would like to thank your families. Don’t go there and forget about your family because you will need their blessing every day. That’s why we’re working towards this to see that the families can also join all of you while you are there, and the sooner the better.”
Mr Bala also spent some time to share some of the PALM success stories with those readying to depart, one of which about five men from Tailevu who decided to fork in to complete their village hall after having helped their respective families.
Meanwhile, of the 108 workers, 107 are going on four-year contracts in Queensland, working for 10 companies in the field of horticulture, meatwork, tourism and agriculture, while one is being deployed to Northern Territory on a one-year contract.
The 108 workers will bring to 3000-plus the number of Fijians who have been employed under the PALM since November 2021.