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Labour Mobility and the Northern Australia Worker Pilot Program

1 March 2018

Joint media release with the Minister for Foreign Affairs, the Hon Julie Bishop MP.

Today we celebrate the achievements of the Northern Australia Worker Pilot Program (NAWPP), which was a key initiative of the Our North, Our Future: Developing Northern Australia White Paper.

Employers across the north’s diverse industries need a reliable source of labour to ensure they have the right staff in place through peak and low seasons. Through the Program, approved employers who cannot fill positions from the Australian labour market are provided avenues through which they can recruit workers from the small island states of Kiribati, Nauru and Tuvalu for three-year placements.

Businesses on Hayman and Hamilton Islands currently employ 54 i-Kiribati workers in hospitality roles. These workers provide much-needed skills to keep Australian businesses running following the devastating effects of Cyclone Debbie.

Workers also benefit from the opportunity to enhance their skills while in Australia. Thirteen i-Kiribati workers recently completed a Certificate III in Hospitality through an intensive on-the-job training program, providing workers with an internationally recognised qualification.

On 8 September 2017, the Prime Minister announced a new Pacific Labour Scheme as part of Australia’s efforts to step up our engagement in the Pacific.

Building on the success of the NAWPP and the longstanding Seasonal Worker Program, the Scheme will give Pacific Island citizens opportunities to work for up to three years and help fill labour shortages in rural and regional Australia.  Up to 2,000 workers from Kiribati, Nauru and Tuvalu will have first access to the scheme when it commences in July 2018.

Labour mobility is an integral part of Australia’s efforts to promote greater economic cooperation and integration with the Pacific.

The Australian Government will continue to build on its commitment to develop northern Australia by unlocking the full potential of this important region, which brings benefits to the nation as a whole. 

Media contact:
Minister Bishop's office: (02) 6277 7500
Minister Canavan's office: (02) 6277 7180