AUSSIE FARMERS BACK PNG BID FOR WORKER VISAS

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PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (PNG Post-Courier, Sept. 29) – The Papua New Guinea government has welcomed the support of the National Farmers Federation of Australia (NFF) in its bid to allow a temporary foreign workers scheme in Australia.

Foreign Affairs and Immigration Minister Rabbie Namaliu said the proposals outlined by the NFF were similar to the submissions the National Government had been making in recent years to the Australian Government at annual ministerial forum meetings.

"The NFF proposal would enable short term guest workers to be given visas to work in Australia in areas where there is difficulty finding workers — such as fruit picking and other seasonal workforce areas," Sir Rabbie said.

"Our proposal has, regrettably, repeatedly been rejected by the Australian Government for reasons that are frankly inadequate. The main argument is that guest workers would overstay their visas but the truth is that the record of Papua New Guineans honouring visas conditions in Australia is a very good. Not only does the NFF support the scheme, so does a senate committee report on Australia’s relations with PNG and the Pacific.

"The National Government will continue to pursue the proposal with the Australian Government."

September 30, 2005

Papua New Guinea Post-Courier: www.postcourier.com.pg/

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