Fijians will be allowed to work in Australia for up to three years, Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison said yesterday, as Canberra expands a regional labor scheme in a bid to win favor with its neighbors amid rising competition from China.
Australia and China are vying for influence in sparsely populated Pacific island countries that control vast swathes of resource-rich ocean. They both offer cheap loans and grants for infrastructure, but Australia is also seeking to build on cultural ties with its regional neighbors.
As part of that drive, Morrison said that Fijian workers could join the Pacific Labour Scheme, which allows men and women from several island nations to work in industries such as agriculture and tourism in Australia.
“Our partnership with each other has to be done in the spirit of a family relationship and I think that’s what we’ve been able to achieve today,” Morrison told a media briefing in Suva.
The scheme allows men and women from Kiribati, Nauru, Samoa, the Solomon Islands, Tuvalu and Vanuatu aged 21 to 45 to work in Australia for up to three years.
It is popular with Australian farmers who struggle to hire enough workers for jobs such as picking fruit. Islanders can earn wages in Australia well in excess of their average incomes at home.
“The opportunity is transformational for many,” Australian National University Crawford School of Public Policy professor of economics Stephen Howes said.
The expansion of the labor scheme is the second regional announcement made by Morrison, who is on a Pacific tour.
In Vanuatu on Wednesday, Morrison said that Australia would allow imports of kava, an intoxicating drink that is deeply embedded in the social fabric of Pacific islanders.
FRENCH AID: Paris has sent a navy ship and aircraft from Reunion Island with some pollution control equipment, but rough seas are spreading the oil spill The operator of a Japanese bulk carrier which ran aground off Mauritius in the Indian Ocean yesterday apologized for a major oil spill, which officials and environmentalists say is creating an ecological disaster, as police prepared to board the ship. The MV Wakashio, operated by Mitsui OSK Lines, struck the reef on Mauritius’ southeast coast on July 25. “We apologize profusely and deeply for the great trouble we have caused,” Mitsui OSK Lines executive vice president Akihiko Ono said at a news conference in Tokyo. The company would “do everything in their power to resolve the issue,” he said. At least 1,000 tonnes of
They stand as eyesores to most passers-by and potential public health risks to authorities, decaying buildings wrapped in tangles of exposed wire, studded with protruding leaky plastic pipes, vegetation billowing from cracks and terraces where particulates from polluted air have accumulated over time. With skyscrapers and ultramodern developments on every side, some of these “nail houses” are also sitting on land worth millions of dollars in Shenzhen’s inferno of a property market, where new-unit and second-hand home prices rival London. In battles over land and development, the nail house phenomenon has become widespread throughout China over the past two decades, with owners
An Italian alpine resort on Friday remained on high alert over fears that a vast chunk of a glacier on the slopes of the Mont Blanc massif could plummet in high temperatures. “No one gets through! No cars, bikes or pedestrians,” was the message at a checkpoint where an automatic barrier and two guards blocked the small road snaking up into a lush valley below the Planpincieux glacier, near the town of Courmayeur and the Italian-French border. The blockade has largely been greeted with contempt by the locals, one of whom said: “It’s a joke.” The huge ice block measuring around 500,000 cubic
BEYOND CULTURE: The US State Department was expected to announce that the Chinese government-funded institutes would have to register as foreign missions US President Donald Trump’s administration is increasing scrutiny of a long-established Chinese-government funded program that is dedicated to teaching Chinese language and culture in the US and other nations, the latest escalation of tensions with Beijing. The US Department of State was expected to announce as soon as yesterday that Confucius Institutes in the US — many of which are based on college campuses — would have to register as “foreign missions,” according to people familiar with the matter who asked not to be identified. The designation would amount to a conclusion that the institutes are “substantially owned or effectively controlled” by