New Australia Pacific labour scheme has pastoral care facility

An academic says the new Pacific Labour Facility will improve pastoral care for Pacific workers in Australia.

Australia announced that Pacific Islanders would be able to work for up to three years in certain sectors, such as health and agriculture, under its new Pacific Labour Scheme.

This follows the seasonal worker scheme that provided thousands of Pacific people with visas to work in horticulture and viticulture for about six months.

Matthew Dornan of the Australian National University's Development Policy Centre said to ensure the welfare of the workers, many of whom will work in rural areas, the new scheme will provide pastoral care.

"There have been abuses under the seasonal worker programme. One of the underlying reasons for that is that employers to a great extent have been responsible for those pastoral care responsibilities and that creates a power imbalance between the employer and the employee," he said.

"Under this new Pacific Labour Facility it would take over those pastoral care responsibilities."

Initially the new labour scheme will be for just 2000 people from Tuvalu, Nauru and Kiribati.