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APAL welcomes Pacific labour reforms

Industry Advocacy

The Federal Government yesterday announced reforms to streamline and improve the Pacific Labour Scheme (PLS) and the Seasonal Worker Programme (SWP). 

These immediate changes will impact both new and existing approved employers, and includes the continuation of certain COVID flexibilities, including redeployment to other approved employers. This has been marked as the first phase of reforms, with more to follow later in the year. 

Key changes include: 

  • A single streamlined application process for both the PLS and SWP via the new Pacific Australia Labour Mobility (PALM) website (palmscheme.gov.au) 
  • Eligible approved employers will have their status recognised for both programs. 
  • The formation of a new PALM Scheme Advisory Group 
  • Changes to caps and restrictions in areas such as worker numbers, eligible regional postcodes, age limits and labour market tests 

Jeremy Griffith, APAL Head of Government Relations and Advocacy, said these reforms show the Federal Government recognises the vital role this labour plays in the workforce of regional Australia. 

“We are very pleased that the Federal Government has taken industry advice on board with these reforms,” Jeremy said. “Streamlining the application process will hopefully remove the most challenging and time-consuming barriers for potential employers. The changes to caps and restrictions will provide some of the flexibility that the ag industry has been calling on for some time.” 

“It’s also positive to see a commitment to maintaining high standards of worker welfare in these reforms. While we are still looking at a labour shortfall from the loss of working holidaymakers, we know from experience that PLS and SWP workers are a valuable, motivated workforce. We want growers to be able to draw on the same skilled workforce year after year. Having a streamlined and reliable program is key to this.” 

Read full details of these reforms in the media release. 

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