By Mike Puia
THE attitude of some locals who were recruited to work in horticulture farms in Australia is responsible for the cut in number of locals recruited to work in Australia.
This was confirmed by the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and External Trade (MFAET), Mr Joseph Ma’ahanua, when he appeared before the parliamentary Public Accounts Committee (PAC) yesterday.
Responding to questions from PAC members, Ma’ahanua said at present there are 150 locals working in Australia horticulture farms under the Seasonal Worker Scheme.
He said this number is a decrease compared to the past years where the number of locals went up to 200.
Ma’ahanua said horticulture employers had to reduce its recruitment in the country because of the attitude of some locals.
He said some acted outside the agreements they signed with employers and so seen as illegal.
Ma’ahanua said those who painted a negative picture on locals have reduced our local workers marketability.
He said the Recognised Seasonal Employer (RSE) scheme where locals work in New Zealand horticulture farms is going “exceptionally well”.
The Foreign Affairs PS said at present over 700 locals are working in various horticulture farms in New Zealand this year.
These locals working in Australia and New Zealand are injecting huge money as remittance into the country.
For the 2016-2017 Season alone for instance, local workers working in New Zealand and Australia injected about $31 million into the country.
This figure excluded money these local workers put in their pocket when they return and value of goods they put in containers carrying their goods bound for Honiara.