1 Feb 2007

Fiji government says focus of Vatukoula support for small business and re-training

8:59 pm on 1 February 2007

An emergency funding package for 1700 workers in Fiji who lost their jobs when the Vatukoula gold mine shut down is awaiting approval from the Ministry of Finance.

The Interim Minister of Labour and Industrial Relations, Bernadette Rounds-Ganilau, says they've talked to the people involved in the mine to find out what they most need.

She says many of them wanted to know whether redundancy packages were in place and also spoke about their need to cover costs including school fees, uniforms and books for their children.

Mrs Rounds Ganilau says the emergency fund, which will total more than 350,000 U.S. dollars, will focus on retraining.

"ow, we are putting into place, hopefully - when this money is confirmed by the Ministry of Finance - these are just the start-ups for small businesses, some wanted to go back to the village, some wanted to start small income generating businesses and we have to do training.'"

Mrs Rounds Ganilau says the interim administration is still looking at what options are available in regards to the future of the mine.