27 Oct 2005

Fiji accuses Australia and New Zealand of double standards over labour access

9:27 am on 27 October 2005

Fiji's labour minister has accused Australia and New Zealand of double standards, for allowing the employment of unskilled labour from European countries, whilst banning those from the Pacific islands.

The Daily Post quotes Kenneth Zinck as saying there's a huge demand for unskilled workers on farms in Australia, and New Zealand and the Fiji government has letters asking for workers, to prove it.

Mr Zinck says Fiji's been fighting for a guest worker scheme since the 1970s, but while Australia and New Zealand have opted to employ people from European countries such as Ireland, they have failed to implement it for their Pacific neighbours.

Mr Zinck says given Fiji's high unemployment rate, it's a pity Australia and New Zealand aren't allowing its unskilled workers access to their job markets.

He says the two larger members of the Pacific Forum only want skilled workers and Fiji is left to do the training.

The Pacific Concerns Resource Centre also this week accused Australia and New Zealand of racism, in not allowing dark-skinned people from the Pacific to access to their job markets for unskilled labour.