Release type: Joint Media Release

Date:

Seasonal worker program expanded across WA accommodation

Ministers:

The Hon Brendan O'Connor MP
Minister for Employment
Minister for Skills and Training

Accommodation businesses across Western Australia will be able to employ seasonal labour from eight Pacific Island countries and Timor-Leste with the extension of the Seasonal Workers Program accommodation trial.

Minister for Employment Brendan O’Connor, and Minister for Tourism Gary Gray, today announced the Australian Government is expanding the Seasonal Worker program accommodation trial to incorporate the whole of Western Australia.

Mr O’Connor said the extension of the trial, which is already underway in Broome, the Northern Territory, tropical Queensland, the Whitsundays Coast and Kangaroo Island, will allow accommodation businesses in Western Australia’s tourism industry to hire seasonal workers from abroad at times of local labour shortages.

“The expansion to include all of Western Australia will help accommodation businesses unable to find enough local labour to hire people from selected Pacific Island countries and Timor-Leste,” Mr O’Connor said.

“Accommodation providers will benefit from being able to have the seasonal workers they need when they need them, and workers from some of our closest neighbours will benefit from the ability to earn good money to help their family and community back home.”

Mr Gray said the expansion of the program to Western Australia is a win for Western Australia’s important tourism industry.

“Seasonal workers provide Australian employers in the sector with a reliable workforce during peak seasons,” Mr Gray said.

“It’s also a win for anyone wanting to visit the West and enjoy the fantastic tourism experiences we have, because this program will ensure Western Australia’s accommodation businesses can offer their very best service at peak season.”

Nearly 1500 seasonal workers were recruited by participating employers 2012-13.

The Seasonal Worker Program commenced on 1 July, 2012 following the conclusion of the Pacific Seasonal Worker Pilot Scheme on 30 June 2012. The Program also includes a trial in the Australian accommodation, aquaculture, cotton and cane sectors in selected regions.

The Program aims to contribute to the economic development of participating countries, and allows workers from eight Pacific island countries and Timor-Leste to undertake between 14 weeks and six months' work with Australian employers who can demonstrate an unmet demand for low-skilled labour.

The number of places available under the program continues to grow each year. This financial year, 2000 places are available in the horticulture industry, and a combined total of 500 places are available to the trial sectors of accommodation, aquaculture, cotton and cane in selected regions. In the accommodation sector, seasonal workers can be recruited to work in positions including café workers, bar staff, kitchen hands and house keepers.

For more information visit the program website: http://deewr.gov.au/seasonal-worker-program  and information line (02) 6240 5234