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Tongan guest workers settle in to south-eastern Australia

AUSTRALIA NETWORK NEWS
18 Feb 2009

Training of the first group of Pacific Island guest workers in Australia continues as their employers finalise the paperwork required for the scheme to start.

Fifty Tongans who are the first of possibly 2,500 workers from Kiribati, Tonga, PNG and Vanautu are in Robinvale in country Victoria preparing to help in harvesting almonds.

Joe Fangaloka is a Robinvale resident and is with the contractors Tree Minders.

He says the job of making sure the workers feel comfortable is made easier by the fact that many already have connections with the town which is reported to have Australia's third largest Tongan community.

"We have to look after their care while they are here under our employment while we employ we have to make sure all their social needs are met and any other needs they may have while they are here we are supposed to look after," he said.

"Coming here to Robinvale there is a large Tongan community I've seen a few of them walking up and down the street there and they're meeting and greeting their families, so it's a small world."

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