WITH labour issues creating headache headlines for many growers, a Queensland group has celebrated its workforce source.
The organisation hosted an event with Federal Minister for Foreign Affairs, Senator Marise Payne, and PNG ministerial dignitaries including Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade, Rimbink Pato, Minister for Labour and Industrial Relations, Mehrra Kipefa and Minister Assisting the Prime Minister, William Samb.
The Pacific Labour Mobility program is one of a suite of solutions driven by FNQ agriculture workforce manager, Leanne Kruss, to address workforce challenges in the regional agri-food sector.
Ms Payne said Pacific mobility was an important part of the Pacific Step Up. The Step-Up is a range of measures to strengthen Australia's engagement with the Pacific.
- Farmers demand ag visa to fill labour gap
- Pacific Labour Scheme expansion welcomed by farmers
- Creek weeds used as compost in North Queensland
"We know the capabilities that you have in PNG will address the challenges that farming and business people in Australia find in filling so many of these roles," Ms Payne said.
"The potential is enormous."
Ms Kruss said far north Qld was a major benefactor of pacific labour mobility programs.
"It is very rewarding to be a part of the partnership, particularly in our region where the real benefits are being delivered on the ground," Ms Kruss said.
"An industry's most valuable asset is its workforce, and I'm happy to report that our farms are strategically embracing opportunities such as those presented by pacific labour programs as part of their core business strategies.
"The pacific labour programs have proven to show benefits over other labour sources in the low skilled area of employment.
"Increasing benefits and efficiency are produced through economies of scale year on year with workers returning to employers work ready, trained and familiar with their operating site.
Papua New Guinea Foreign Affairs and Trade Minister, Rimbink Pato praised the close working relationship between the two countries, particularly in labour mobility.
"This will empower our people to bring needed skills and needed remittances to the rural communities in PNG," Mr Pato said.
"It is a very important focus of the partnership. "