NATION

Tutako’s Great Work Sends Him To Australia

A lot has changed for Kolinio Tutako, 44, and his family since he made his first trip to Australia.
21 May 2022 17:41
Tutako’s Great Work Sends Him To Australia
Kolinio Tutako, 44, is ready for his fourth Fijian workers under the Pacific Australia Labour Mobility (PALM) scheme. He received his travelling documents on May 20, 2022. Photo: Ronald Kumar.

A lot has changed for Kolinio Tutako, 44, and his family since he made his first trip to Australia.

He was as a recipient of the Pacific Austral­ia Labour Scheme in 2017.

Mr Tutako has been able to extend his home in Yavu village on Batiki Island twice, send his children through for higher education and improve the standard of living for many villagers on the island.

Because of his exceptional work in 2017 as a first time recipient of the scheme, his em­ployer has been calling him back to work since.

This year would be the fourth year he would make it to Australia under the scheme.

“The Pacific Labour scheme has changed my life for the better, I have been going to Australia under the scheme in 2017, 2018, 2019 and now again in 2022,” he said.

“In 2017, I was part of the first batch of Fiji­ans that were employed with COSTA for fruit picking.

“At that time COSTA only employed Ton­gans, so when we went in 2017 our boss had tested us, we worked long hours for three months and the way we had worked so hard really impressed him.

“Ever since that he was happy with our work and that was the beginning of their en­gagement with Fijians.

“The next recruitment was 60 Fijians the following year and it continued from there.”

He said the current trip would be the first one where 40 workers would be signing a four year contract with the employer.

They leave Fiji on May 31.

Life Changing Experience

He said on his first trip, he made sure that he improved the standard of living at home.

“I live on the island with my wife and four children, I used to live in an open house where the kitchen, bathrooms and the bed­room were separated from each other.

“I was able to make an extension to my house and include the kitchen, bathrooms and bedrooms all under one roof.

“I bought the stuff inside my home from Australia and I am currently extending my house again where I am extending my sitting room again.

“I also have a water tank that has assisted us so much in terms of water supply.

“I have invested money in Unit Trust and two of my children have finished higher studies and two are still in secondary school with one in year nine and the other one in year 13.”

He is one of the leaders that assist in the re­cruitment of people through their employer COSTA.

“In this trip there are 40 of us that have been selected for fruit picking through COSTA.

“It is good money but we have to work hard, the harder you work the more benefits you receive. It’s not really an easy job like many think of it to be, you have to work hard.”

He added that it wouldn’t have been pos­sible without the help of the Fijian gov­ernment and its Australian counterpart enabling them to work in Australia and help their families back home.

Advice

He said: “Whenever we leave Fiji I keep re­minding the workers to ensure that we per­form our level best because that would open up opportunities for other Fijians with the level of work that we do.

“I tell them when they go to Australia to en­sure that their family is number one when we are there and that they are well looked after.”

Feedback: inoke.rabonu@fijisun.com.fj



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