Employment Minister Agni Deo Singh
Minister for Employment Agni Deo Sing has expressed disappointment over the FijiFirst government’s failure to appoint liaison officers in several states across Australia when they were in power.
Singh claims the Australian government pledged support for this in 2021, but no action was taken.
Singh says the coalition is now addressing the issue given that Australia is now home to the largest Fijian diaspora, and particularly with more people participating in the Pacific Labor Mobility Scheme.
He says efforts have been made to address the gap left by the Bainimarama administration concerning the well-being of PALM workers.
“Last week, the Ministry finalized the appointment of the second liaison officer to be based in Brisbane to look after the workers in Queensland and the Northern Territory. In the coming week, the Ministry will advertise the position of the third liaison officer in Sydney to look after workers in New South Wales.
Singh says liaison officers will play a crucial role as a key connection between Fijian PALM workers, approved employers in Australia, and the Fiji government.
The Minister says in the New Year his Ministry will appoint the fourth liaison officer, and they will be relieved of having to go and visit workers often.
FijiFirst MP Parveen Bala
Meanwhile, former Employment Minister and FijiFirst MP Parveen Bala says he hopes that this move will reduce certain expenses.
“I hope from now on, since we have liaison staff, embassy staff, and team leaders, there are a lot of team leaders, and this wine and dine trip will stop.”
Singh says that the liaison officers will have the task of ensuring a smooth transition for workers, offering continuous support, addressing concerns, and simultaneously promoting Fiji abroad.