The Pacific Australia Labour Mobility (PALM) scheme is helping local businesses fill labour gaps in rural and regional areas.

PALM now encompasses 25,000 workers previously under the Australian Government’s Seasonal Worker Programme (SWP) and Pacific Labour Scheme (PLS). The government is committed to scaling up labour mobility to fill workforce shortages in Australia and has introduced a new regional approach to manage the sustainability of this growth.

PALM relationship managers are now in several regions across Australia and will be the first point of contact with stakeholders. The regional approach has been supplemented by a series of community engagement activities bringing together local governments, community groups and employers to create a support network for workers.

What is gained from a regional approach?

The regional approach sees four main benefits:

Improved communication – placing staff in regions across Australia will allow program partners to better communicate their needs and improve relationships among stakeholders.

Capacity building – relationship managers aim to provide greater education and boost the capacity of PALM Approved Employers by helping with worker wellbeing, support and community integration, as well as with the effective resolution of issues.

Local ownership – improving relationships among stakeholders, including the government, business and community groups within the regions fosters local ownership of the program and will ensure further involvement of local businesses.

Relationship building – relationship managers can improve bonds and relationships between Pacific and Timorese country representatives and PALM scheme Approved Employers, further contributing to worker support and effective issues resolution.

Introducing the Queensland team

Queensland remains home to the largest number of PALM scheme workers and has four regional relationship managers in place.

Ben McCafferty (Toowoomba), Alex Bushnell (Caboolture) and Saga Selsby (Cairns) have been on the ground for three months, working to establish relationships with local employers and stakeholders.

They are the key points of contact for PALM approved employers in their areas and are also supporting PALM’s community of care model, whereby a support network for workers is built involving employers, local governments and social groups, sporting, community organisations and churches.

A relationship manager has also recently been appointed in Bundaberg, with Queensland moving towards having a regional presence in all parts of the state within the next year.

To find out how to contact a relationship manager in your area, call the PALM support service line on 1800 51 51 31 during business hours or email to

More information about the PALM scheme is available at: