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Tuesday, 3 February 2009
Page: 160

Senator Milne asked the Minister for Immigration and Citizenship, upon notice, on 7 November 2008:

(1)   In regard to the Pacific Seasonal Worker Pilot Scheme: Will any of the workers involved in this scheme be permitted/allowed/eligible to be employed to undertake work tasks and activities associated with forestry industry operations including, but not limited to, the planting of trees for plantations or carbon sink purposes, or the maintenance, harvesting and/or processing of an existing tree plantation or native forest, anywhere within Australia.

(2)   Given that forestry operations and associated work activities are considered to be an ‘agricultural’ activity in Australia, are there any reasons, processes, procedures or guidelines which preclude workers under the scheme from being employed to undertake forestry-related work activities.

Senator Chris Evans (Minister for Immigration and Citizenship) —The answer to the honourable senator’s question is as follows:

(1)   Forestry, including tree planting, is not considered part of the horticulture sector and so will not be included in the scheme.

(2)   A decision has been made to initially limit the scheme to the horticulture sector, as opposed to the broader agriculture industry. As a result, Government policy will only permit that employers operating in the horticulture industry to be approved to participate in the Pacific Seasonal Worker Pilot Scheme.