Pacific seasonal workers

Pacific countries U-turn on seasonal work arrangements

The countries had been seeking a legally binding agreement on labour mobility as part of negotiations around a new trade deal, PACER- Plus.

Meetings on Pacific labour mobility arrangements with Australia and New Zealand, which give unskilled workers from Pacific Island countries seasonal work visas, were held last week in New Zealand ahead of the latest rounds of talks on PACER-Plus.

At the meeting all parties agreed to have the respective Australian and New Zealand labour mobility schemes remain under non-legally binding arrangements.

Katherine growers look to Pacific Seasonal Worker Programme because of backpacker tax concerns

The tax, set to come into effect in July, will see people on working holiday visas taxed at 32.5 per cent from the first dollar they earn.

Northern Territory Chief Minister Adam Giles said he would raise growers' on-going concerns about the tax at the next meeting of the Council of Australian Governments meeting.

Katherine farmer Peter Marks hired Pacific Islanders to pick mangoes last year, with backpackers in the packing shed, but was “in a state of concern” about whether he would be able to find enough workers for the upcoming harvest.