20 Dec 2005

Advocate for labour mobility says he will keep pressure on Australian government

2:11 pm on 20 December 2005

A leading advocate for labour mobility in the Pacific region says he won't give up on trying to persuade the Australian government it is to its benefit to have a guest worker scheme.

Bob Lyon of the Australia-Pacific Islands Business Council says his meeting last Friday with the Australian foreign minister, Alexander Downer, did not see a thawing of the government's negative attitude toward labour mobility.

Mr Lyon says a guest worker scheme would benefit both the Pacific Island nations and the Australian agriculture sector.

"Australia and New Zealand and most western countries in general have a shortage in these areas, whereas in the Pacific we have a youth bulge. And it seems like a win-win if we can put these two issues together."

Bob Lyon says other government MPs and bureaucrats are keen on the labour mobility idea and Mr Lyon says he told Alexander Downer, the issue would not be going away.