The Minister of Foreign Affairs and External Trade, Hon. Jeremiah Manele visited Solomon Islands PALM workers in Adelaide, South Australia on Thursday 9th February.
There are about 39 Solomon Islanders working for the Costa Mushroom Farm, which include 28 men and 11 women.
During his visit, Minister Manele and delegation met with the farm management and their workers.
The Minister thanked the employers for recruiting Solomon Islanders to work in their farm and further thanked the Australian government for the opportunity provided under the SWP, PLS and now PALM program.
The State Manager of Costa Group, Brian Blackhouse led the tour of the farm site and thanked the Minister and his delegation for their visit.
He said the company is pleased with the work of their Solomon Islands workers and are looking at recruiting more. The Costa Mushroom is the largest mushroom farm in the southern hemisphere.
Minister Manele was pleased to visit the workers and informed them that labour mobility is a key policy priority of the DCGA government through the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and External Trade and the government will continue to support the program.
He further informed workers that the next round of recruitment will open on 27th February to 10th March.
Minister Manele reminded them to work hard and maintain a good reputation so that the employers can recruit more workers from Solomon Islands, to work and earn enough money to help themselves, support their families back home and invest.
He said if they have any issues concerning welfare, there are processes to follow which they need to discuss with their employers and contact the Country Liaison Officer (CLO) for Solomon Islands covering South Australia, Mr Dean Wichkam for assistance.
The Minister adds that the Solomon Islands High Commission in Canberra and the Brisbane Consulate Office are official points of contact for the Solomon Islands government in Australia and they are there to provide support when needed.
The workers were very happy with the visit and state that it is the first by a government delegation at the Ministerial level to visit them in Adelaide.
Some of the workers have built their own homes and earned good money. They acknowledge the government for the support provided and for the Australian government for providing the opportunity for them to come over to Australia to work.
The Minister and delegation also visited the workers at their residence and were pleased with their accommodation, he then wished them well during their work in Australia and reminded them to be good Ambassadors at all times.
–MFAET PRESS RELEASE