Subject: ABC: Darwin ready for migrant worker trial: Greens

Last Update: Sunday, March 6, 2005. 8:41am (AEDT) Darwin ready for migrant worker trial: Greens

The Northern Territory Greens are calling for a trial of the short-stay visa proposal to allow migrant workers to fill job vacancies to be staged in the Top End.

The Howard Government has come under increasing pressure to introduce the new category to temporarily solve skilled labour shortages across the country.

Greens party member Illana Eldridge raised the idea in the last federal election campaign and received support from mango producers and the Territory's East Timorese population.

She says East Timorese workers could help mango growers clear their harvest at the time of year producers have traditionally struggled to find labour.

"This is the best spot to do it, we're so close to East Timor there's so many East Timorese people living in Darwin so there's ample opportunity for translation services and family connections there," she said.

She says the Government could get a good idea of the local benefits if a trial was staged in the territory, in conjunction with East Timor.

"It would have been good for them and good for the growers here and also open potential spin-off we wouldn't be facing too many difficulties so long as the workers are looked after properly and aren't exposed to dangerous working conditions, I can't see there'd be too many losers really," she said.

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