17 June 2008

PNG strongly urges Australia to include them in guest worker scheme

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The High Commissioner for Papua New Guinea in Canberra Charles Lepani warned the Australian Government to invite PNG to take part in the Pacific guest worker scheme, reports ABC news, or relations between the two countries will be severely damaged.

The Australian Government is following in the footsteps of a pilot programme run in New Zealand, which allowed temporary visas for workers from specific Pacific nations to ease the labour shortage. 

The Federal Cabinet will be discussing the scheme later this week, and as yet have not released any confirmations on whether the scheme will be approved, and which Pacific nations will be invited to take part. 

Mr Lepani has warned the Government that leaving PNG out of the scheme will “set our PNG-Australia relations in a very negative light again… There is no reason, no reason whatsoever that Australia should forget or exclude Papua New Guinea from any initial pilot programs on seasonal labour," he said.

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