114 workers who are preparing to travel to Australia under the Pacific-Australia Labour Mobility (PALM) Scheme have attended a two days’ Pre-Departure Briefing (PDB) conducted by the Labour Mobility Unit (LMU) within the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and External Trade.

PDB is a compulsory information sharing exercise undertaken by the LMU to prepare workers before they leave the country and experience new environment and culture in Australia.

Speaking during the opening of the PDB, Trade Commissioner of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and External Trade, Mr. Barrett Salato, said that thousands of Solomon Islanders are still waiting for the opportunity to be recruited under the scheme.

Many Solomon Islanders have been waiting for long period of time, even years, just to get into the scheme.

“Those of you who are present here today are the lucky ones, so please make use of this employment opportunity to turn your life around and raise your family’s standard of living”.
Salato said, hundreds of Solomon Islanders who joined this scheme have improved their life.

“They work hard and earned money which they use to build houses and own properties, run small businesses, invest in their children’s education, support other family members’ financial needs, etc. “these are the people who have aims and are serious about what they want to achieve in life. I encourage you all to do the same.”

He said, success and achievements of fellow workers should be seen as competitive benchmark that others can emulate.

“whether you succeed or not under this scheme is a personal responsibility,” Salato said.

He also pointed out that as the number of Solomon Islanders joining the scheme increases, the number of social problems also increases.

“You should refrain involving yourself in activities or behaviour that would prevent you from achieving your goal.”

Some of the common problems associated with labour mobility are: absconding, alcohol abuse, gambling, extra-marital affairs and betel nut abuse.

Solomon Islands currently have more than 5,000 workers in Australia.

The PDB was facilitated by Harrison Kabolo, Worker Welfare Officer, and Alison Naghu, Compliance Officer of the LMU.

Also present at the PDB was Counsellor Mika from the Australian High Commission, who spoke in length on many issues that workers need to be aware of before they travel to Australia.


Source: Press Release, MFAET