Send Pacific workers to Australia, NZ: study

A SHORT-TERM labour scheme allowing Pacific Islanders to work in Australia and New Zealand could inject more than $A1 billion annually into Pacific Island economies, an independent report from the Centre for Global Trade Analysis has found.
Send Pacific workers to Australia, NZ: study Send Pacific workers to Australia, NZ: study Send Pacific workers to Australia, NZ: study Send Pacific workers to Australia, NZ: study Send Pacific workers to Australia, NZ: study

Terrie Walmsley, director of the centre that is based in the United States, told the ABC that modelling had suggested the scheme would increase the labour force in both Australia and New Zealand by 1% and would create $US900 million ($A1.269 billion) annually for Pacific Islanders.

“The $US900 million basically comes from Pacific Islanders in Australia who would gain quite considerably to the tune of about $US775 million, Pacific Islanders also in New Zealand who’d also gain about $US100 million, and then Pacific Islanders in Pacific Islands and they put back in the Pacific Islands who would gain $US22 million,” Walmsley told ABC.

“What we are seeing is … that they’re going to earn much higher wages when they get to Australia and New Zealand, because they’re competing with other unskilled workers in Australia and New Zealand.”

Walmsley said Pacific Islanders would return to their homeland with a large amount of savings, which would then be injected in their local economies.

She added that 1% of the Australian workforce represented around 110,000 people, which she said represented about 2% of the total workforce in the Pacific Islands.

“There’ve been much larger movements of labour from the Pacific Islands into other countries, so two percent isn’t actually that large,” she said.

“Rather than taking people from the countries that Australia and New Zealand take people from at the moment, if they could design it so it was they took people from countries from the Pacific Islands.”

However, Walmsley warned of short-term of unemployment during the early stages of the scheme due to the influx of such a large workforce.

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