Vanuatu steps up to the plate to offer overseas workers

Vanuatu steps up to the plate to offer overseas workers

Vanuatu steps up to the plate to offer overseas workers

Updated 9 November 2016, 18:00 AEDT

The Vanuatu government steps in to offer agricultural workers to Tasmania as the backpacker tax uncertainty continues.

Rural:ALL:ALLRural:Agribusiness:ALLRural:Community Development:ALLRural:Agricultural Crops:FruitsCommunity and Society:Work:ALLGovernment and Politics:Parliament:State ParliamentRural:Crop Harvesting:ALLAustralia:TAS:Hobart 7000Vanuatu:ALL:ALLPacific:ALL:ALLrural, agribusiness, pacific, seasonal, workers, vanuatu, fruitABCTony BriscoeVanuatu steps up to the plate to offer overseas workersThe Vanuatu government steps in to offer agricultural workers to Tasmania as the backpacker tax uncertainty continues.

The government of Vanuatu has stepped in to offer agricultural workers to Tasmania as the uncertainty of the backpacker tax continues.

A delegation from Vanuatu has arrived in Tasmania to hold talks with the State Government and fruit growers.

The High Commissioner of Vanuatu Kalfau Kaloris said the delegation wanted to increase the number of people taking part in the Pacific Seasonal Workers Program.

"Today's visit to Tasmania will give us a better idea of how we can increase the export of our workers into the state," he said.

"We have a very good relationship with Australia and around 1,000 workers from Vanuatu take part in the program, but we want that to increase," Mr Kaloris said.

The visit from the Vanuatu delegation comes at a time when fruit growers in Tasmania are saying there will be a shortfall in overseas worker numbers because of the backpacker tax.

The Federal Government reduced the tax to 19 cents in the dollar from 32 and a half cents, but growers say it should be closer to 10 cents, as is the case in New Zealand.

The issue is yet to go before the Senate, but the plan to set the tax at 19 cents is likely to be defeated, leaving the future unclear for backpackers and overseas workers.

The tax system for the Pacific Seasonal Workers Program is different to the backpacker tax, which has caused a number of overseas workers to defer their plans to visit Australia.

"We have decided to select Tasmania as our first stop because, like Vanuatu, Tasmania is an island state," Mr Kaloris said.

"The fact that this delegation is sanctioned by the government of Vanuatu means we are serious about doing business with Tasmania.

"Our workers have been trained in agricultural skills and we have learnt lessons from previous experiences in New Zealand.

"We are ready to provide more workers to help Tasmanian agriculture."

internationalpacificVanuatu DelegationVanuatu High Commission Kalfau Kaloris, Parliamentary Secretary Andrew Solomon, Commissioner of Work Lionel Kaluat, and MP Sala John.