Evie Sharman

Evie Sharman is a research officer at the Development Policy Centre, working in the Pacific migration team.

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  • Firstly, I particularly impressed with the new Australian Foreign Minister, Senator for South Australia, Hon. Mademoiselle Penny Wong, MP., because she impresses as a seasoned career politician who understands deeply the concerns of many Small Island States (SIS) including independent Pacific Island Countries (PICs).

    Papua New Guinea is greatly challenged by a myriad of key development issues that the current political elite have consistently failed to address over the years since 1990. For example, according to the 2020 and 2021 Human Development Index, Papua New Guinea Education Index remained at 0.04 per cent from 1990 to 2021. This is hardly an improvement for the Education sector particularly the primary and secondary sector.

    The proposed Pacific Engagement Visa – part of a larger scheme of Pacific migration policies certainly goes a long long way to helping Papua New Guinea get its economy back on track and improve its financial as well as economic ratings back on track.

    This Pacific migration policies will have enormous benefits not just in terms of Pacific labor mobility but also in terms of addressing unemployment, poverty alleviation, health, sanitation, and hygiene including further education in Australia. This same people will also send remittances back to their countries of birth hence contributing directly to the economies of these countries throughout the Pacific region.

    In foresight, the Australian Labour Government can build on these policies in which the proposition of a Pacific Free Trade Block or a Pacific Commonwealth Union (PCU) in which Australia remains the dominant economic driver of the PCU to rival that of the European Union and the Association of South East Asian Nations or ASEAN is feasible and not a mere imagination in the not too distant future if the current Australian Labour Government manages this Pacific migration policies with care and support for Pacific communities and the Australian people as well.

    In conclusion, I believe that the Pacific Engagement Visa is a positive step in the right direction for all stakeholders and a big win for the local Pacific Islanders who have contributed immensely to the Australian Way of Life over the years.

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