Australia

Seasonal workers arrive from Vanuatu to pick mangoes in Darwin

The workers arrived on a chartered flight from Port Vila on Tuesday and will spend the next 14 days at Howard Springs quarantine facility, before heading to work across Top End orchards.

The group will join dozens of ni-Vanuatu harvest workers who arrived in September last year and had their visas extended to continue picking fruit.

Without them, Darwin Fruit Farmers manager Mark Smith said, many growers would not be able to send their mangoes to market.

“We'd go broke, I'd say,” Smith said. 

New Australia visa could be a threat for Pacific workers

Professor Howes said if the Australian Agricultural Visa was not implemented with same types of safeguards as the Seasonal Worker Programme and the Pacific Labour Scheme, then many farmers across Australia were likely to switch to the new visa.

"Although its termed an agricultural visa it is actually going to allow employers to bring in workers, not only for agriculture but also for other region industries, including meat processing, and meat processing jobs are actually 71% of Pacific Labour Scheme jobs.

Vanuatu to trial in-country quarantine for seasonal workers

Australia’s Agriculture Minister David Littleproud told ABC’s AM program, earlier this week that the arrangement would include Vanuatu.

“This month we'll be trialling in country quarantine in Vanuatu."

"[South Australia'a] chief health officer has got comfortable with the risk profile of Vanuatu that they'll allow them to quarantine in country," he said.

Vanuatu’s Director of Foreign Affairs Yvone Basil said they’d hoped for it to start this month following talks with the Australian High Commission but so far no date has been set on when it would be rolled out.

Vanuatu concerned new Australia agriculture visa threatens seasonal workers

Vanuatu MP and former seasonal worker agent John Salong said the visa which starts next month and targets ten Southeast Asian countries would threaten the gains made by Vanuatu and Pacific nations in Australia.

"We are very concerned that now Australia is bringing in Asian workers into the horticultural sector, which is in direct competition with the Pacific seasonal workers program, which we have built over the years," he said.

Afghan women footballers evacuated by Australian government after plea

A statement by the international footballers' federation Fifpro expressed gratitude to Australia.

Following the retaking of Kabul by the Taliban, many Afghan sportswomen went into hiding.

The statement said work was still needed to settle the women abroad.

"These young women, both as athletes and activists, have been in a position of danger and on behalf of their peers around the world we thank the international community for coming to their aid," Fifpro said of an evacuation that was for more than 50 people according to news sources including ABC.

Australian police clash with anti-lockdown protesters

In Melbourne, mounted officers used pepper spray when elements of a 4,000-strong rally broke through police lines.

Police arrested 218 people, and at least seven officers were injured.

In Sydney, where lockdown measures have been extended for another month, more than 1,000 officers dispersed protests.

It came as the state of New South Wales (NSW), of which Sydney is the capital, recorded 825 new locally-acquired cases, the highest number for any Australian territory in a 24-hour period.

Commercial production of kava in Australia will badly affect Vanuatu

This comes amid revelations that there are plans in Queensland to grow kava, which up to now has been banned, as a crop and as an import, in Australia.

"I wish to say to Australia, our friend, don't grow kava. Do not allow kava to grow in Australia commercially, make it illegal but make it legal for us to export Vanuatu kava to you. That is the request of Vanuatu and other Pacific Islands," Mr Regenvanu said.

He said if Australia grows kava there will be a large market but Vanuatu has not much quantity to export.

Australia and Vanuatu launch national distribution of medical equipment

The project funded by the Australian Government is worth 80 million vatu and will supply 125 health facilities with 34,860 medical items.

Supplies include 250 bedpans, 568 pairs of crutches for adults and 284 for children, 2500 pairs of forceps, 130 weighing scales for newborns, 159 portable LED examination lights, 250 portable stretcher beds and 250 pairs of bandage scissors.

Australia borders: Citizens living overseas could be 'trapped' if they return

Since March last year, the country has banned its citizens from leaving the country as part of its COVID strategy.

That restriction has not previously applied to Australians who usually live in other countries.

But they will now need to apply for an exemption for outbound travel - in line with rules for other Australians.

Australia's tough border rules have been controversial. Critics say this change - in effect from 11 August - will further punish families and deter citizens from returning.

Fijiana books semifinal spot after creating major upset

It is a historical moment for the Fijiana as they’re now in contention for a medal.

The side will meet New Zealand in the semifinal at 2pm (Fiji Time) today.

Aloesi Nakoci struck first after two minutes following some patient buildup up for a 7-nil lead.

Fiji went to a 14-nil lead when Ana Maria Naimasi sliced through the Australian defense to dot down between the sticks.

However, the Fijiana was reduced to six players when Vasiti Solikoviti was sent off for a high tackle.