NEWS

No Talk On PIF

There was no talk about Fiji’s non-return to the Pacific Islands Forum between the Minister for Foreign Affairs, Ratu Inoke Kubuabola and his Australian counterpart,  Julie Bishop. “We did not
02 Nov 2014 09:45
No Talk On PIF
The Minister for Industry, Trade and Tourism Faiyaz Koya (front left), with the Australian Minister for Foreign Affairs Julie Bishop during a meeting yesterday.

There was no talk about Fiji’s non-return to the Pacific Islands Forum between the Minister for Foreign Affairs, Ratu Inoke Kubuabola and his Australian counterpart,  Julie Bishop.

“We did not talk about the Pacific Islands Forum,” Ratu Inoke said as Ms Bishop returned to Australia after her two-day visit.

Ratu Inoke said the Pacific Island Forum leaders knew why Fiji had stayed out of the Forum.

Fiji has not moved to rejoin the group since its suspension was lifted after the elections.

When asked if Fiji could change its stand and rejoin, he replied: “No.”

He said Fiji wanted a review of the Forum membership. It believed Australia and New Zealand should be development partners rather than both development partners and full members.

“They have to decide,” Ratu Inoke said.

Seasonal Work

The Seasonal Worker Programme, he said, has enabled workers from East Timor and Pacific nations to work in Australia for up to six months each year. This provides employers with a reliable, returning seasonal workforce year after year.

He said Fiji was not in this programme in the past and Ms Bishop had offered Australia’s invitation after Fiji’s successful elections in September.

A signed memorandum of understanding will establish a commitment by the governments of Australia and Fiji to establish and maintain labour sending and receiving arrangements for the Seasonal Worker Programme.  The arrangements will deliver benefits to the citizens of Fiji and assist Australian employers meet their seasonal demand for labour.

Once these steps are completed, the Fijian Government will advise Fijian citizens about applying to participate in the Seasonal Worker Programme.

Ratu Inoke said now that Fiji woud be part of the programme, the onus would be with the successful applicants.

The main risk, he said, was that some workers may remain illegally in Australia after their contract.

Feedback:  maikab@fijisun.com.fj

 




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