Minister reaffirms commitment

Cook Islands Prime Minister and Pacific Island Forum Chairman Mark Brown and Secretary General Henry Puna with Pacific Islands Foreign Affairs Minister during their meeting at the Pacific Island Forum head office in Suva.Picture:ATU RASEA 15/09/23.

Pacific Island countries are free to make sovereign choices if they want to engage in the Pacific Labour Mobility Scheme.

This was the reassurance by Australia’s Foreign Minister Penny Wong when asked about the exploitation of Pacific labourers under the PALM scheme.

She said the Australian Government was eager on assisting Pacific Island countries in formalising the scheme to suit their needs.

Ms Wong also indicated her government’s commitment to safeguarding PALM scheme workers’ rights and ensuing they aren’t exploited.

“So, we can’t fix everything, but we are working to make sure that the arrangements under which workers come to Australia, the protections that they have when in Australia, are improved,” she said.

“We, as I said, we wanted to work for participating countries, we want to work for Fiji just as we want it to work for Australian employers as well as the Australian economy.”

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