Follow proper channel: Usamate

Minister for Employment, Industrial Relations and Productivity Jone Usamate. Picture: FT FILE

FIJIANS wishing to go and work in fruit picking farms in Australia or New Zealand have been urged to follow the proper channel.

Employment Minister Jone Usamate made this clear following the release of an online news report regarding the alarming rate of deaths that have been recorded over the years on Australia’s fruit picking farms.

Mr Usamate said the article stated that 14 people have died while working on an Australian fruit picking farm.

He clarified none of the 14 was from Fiji. He said the report stated that a Fijian man died last month in Australia while he was working in one of the fruit picking farm.

Mr Usamate said the man had not gone through the Government’s seasonal work program.

“First of all we conduct a medical assessment as we do not allow anybody to go if they fail the medical assessment, they need to go through a fitness test so the people we have been sending they have been checked medically, and they need to be fit,” he said.

“Fiji does this that is why we have not had anybody die, the 14 that died in Australia, nobody is from Fiji.”

Mr Usamate said people who went through the seasonal work program were also insured.

“My advice to anybody in Fiji is if they are getting work through another agency; make sure that agency is registered with us as it important for people to follow the right channel.”

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