The Solomon Islands Government regards labour mobility as a key economic and social driver to improve the country’s future economic and human development benchmark.
This was highlighted by the Minister of Foreign Affairs and External Trade, Milner Tozaka at a Seasonal Workers Roundtable event hosted by the Development Policy Centre of the Australian National University during his visit to Canberra last week.
Minister Tozaka said the Democratic Coalition for Change (DCC) Government believes that Labour Mobility will form a key pillar of the country’s macroeconomic strategy to improve the level of economic and human development in Solomon Islands.
This commitment was reflected in two important policy documents that the government has recently endorsed.
In January 2015, the DCC Government issued a policy statement that pledged to support labour mobility now and into the future and more recently the Government also launched its first ever Trade Policy Framework with extra focus on improving labour mobility opportunities for Solomon Islanders.
“We are confident that expanding and targeting seasonal work opportunities in the region and especially Australia and New Zealand will help us confront our demographic and economic challenges including the high level of youth unemployment in the country,” Mr Tozaka said.
The Minister also highlighted that those working abroad remit earnings by investing in commerce and education while returning with valuable skills that they apply for themselves, their families and most importantly the national community.
“As has been the case for many of our Pacific neighbours, increased labour mobility will empower Solomon islanders to reach full potential and would consequently result in improving their lives,” Minister Tozaka added.
Last Wednesday’s forum has discussed Solomon Islands’ participation in the Seasonal Worker Program (SWP) in Australia which was an example of the government’s commitment to support labour mobility more broadly and the Seasonal Worker Programme specifically.
Minister Tozaka said the Solomon Islands Government wants to improve Solomon Islands participation in the Australian Seasonal Workers Programs which has declined since joining the scheme in 2012.
Besides the Australian Seasonal Worker Program, Mr Tozaka also highlighted the need for Solomon Islanders to be recruited in other areas such as the hospitality industry and other semi-skilled trade jobs.
Source: Press Release, Government Communications Unit