Solomon Islands and other Pacific Islands except Kiribati, Tonga, Papua New Guinea, and Vanuatu were excluded from the three year Pilot Phase of the Australian Seasonal Labour Scheme.

According to Australia's Prime Minister, Kevin Rudd, Solomon Islands and other Pacific Island states are not included in the pilot phase of the scheme because Australia would like to implement the scheme on a gradual or small scale basis, given the sensitivities surrounding the issue of labour mobility in Australia.

This is why the need is to start with the countries that have already participated and gained experience in the New Zealand Government Formal Seasonal Labour Scheme.

These countries also already have in place the necessary Government mechanisms and processes to enable their involvement in the pilot phase of the Australian Government Seasonal Labour Scheme.

According to Australia, Solomon Islands was not part of those countries who took part in the New Zealand Government Formal Seasonal Employment Scheme.

In the interim, it is important that the Solomon Islands Government proceed to put in place the necessary measures to facilitate Solomon Islands future participation in both the Australian and New Zealand Seasonal Employment Schemes.

Prime Minister Helen Clark of New Zealand has announced that Solomon Islands will now be part of the New Zealand Government formal seasonal employment scheme.

This means that both the New Zealand and Solomon Islands Government will have a say in the recruitment process, travel arrangements, and working conditions of Solomon Islands seasonal workers in New Zealand.

A New Zealand Government delegation is expected to travel to Honiara in September 2008 to discuss such arrangements with the appropriate Solomon Islands Government authorities.

This means that Solomon Islands will economically benefit from its participation in the New Zealand Formal Seasonal Employment Scheme - helping the Government to address the issue of unemployment and providing a source of much needed income for our people.