SI SEASONAL WORKERS SLOWLY ADJUST TO FARM LIFE

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Solomon Islands Seasonal Workers are slowly adjusting to new expectations from their host farms and towns since arriving in Australia.

Solomon Islands High Commissioner to Australia, Robert Sisilo and his Deputy Trevor Ramoni observed this during a recent visit to the Perfection Berries farm in the small town of Riana in Devonport, Tasmania.

A statement from the Solomon Islands High Commission in Canberra this week highlighted that the farm employer have expressed concerns over issues of lateness to work and littering.

However, the employer was pleased that issues relating alcohol consumption has improved during earlier months.

“We sorted alcohol consumption very early on but punctuality and littering took some time to sink in.  I expected them to hit the ground running on their first day at the farm starting at 5 am.  But after a month or so I am happy to see that they are all coming around and up to speed.” The farms Operation Manager told High Commissioner Sisilo.

Forty-Eight workers from SI are working at the Perfection Berries farm, a home-grown family business for over 40 years.

Sisilo’s visit include courtesy calls on the town Mayor, Employer, Police and Workers over the weekend.

He thanked Ms Jan Bonde, Mayor of the Central Coast Council in the northern coast town of Ulverston and her police force for their warm hospitality towards hosting 24 men and 24 women SI workers.

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The Mayor looked forward to more SI workers in her town and to integrate them in the local communities and their social and sporting activities.

 “It’s a win-win situation for both of us and cultural performances and playing for our sport clubs will enrich and widen our horizons.  And all for the common good.” The Mayor told Mr. Sisilo. 

When asked how the workers performed as far as law and order were concerned, the Police Inspector present said he had no issues although he had with other workers. 

At Mr. Sisilo’s request, the Police force will run some awareness programs on road safety, sexual harassment, drinking etc with the SI workers.

With the harvesting season, slowly winding down the 48 workers will be deployed to farms in Adelaide, South Australia and Queensland.

The first 12 left this week for Adelaide and the remaining 36 will be deployed to Queensland later this month.  All will return in November when the harvesting season begins.  They have been in Tasmania since March 2021.

In their report to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and External Trade, Mr. Sisilo and his Deputy have suggested if more women could be recruited for the berry farms since the work does not really involve much heavy lifting. 

The report recommended recruiting couples who could work on the same farm and live as a couple. 

ENDS///

GOVERNMENT COMMUNICATIONS UNIT

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