Governance of the Seasonal Worker Programme in Australia and sending countries

Crawford School of Public Policy | Development Policy Centre
Governance of the Seasonal Worker Programme in Australia and sending countries (DFAT/Flickr CC BY 2.0)

Event details


Date & time

Wednesday 09 December 2020


Online via Zoom


Professor Stephen Howes and Dr Richard Curtain


Arichika Okazaki
02 6125 6805

» watch the recording
» view presentation
» download PDF report
» download PDF executive summary

From a slow start in 2008, Australia’s Seasonal Worker Programme (SWP) has become a growing source of employment in the Pacific, and an important part of the seasonal workforce for Australian farmers. While research has demonstrated the benefits of the SWP for both workers and farmers, less is known about how the SWP is governed, especially in sending countries, and about the determinants of national participation, that is, why some countries have been more successful than others.

This new report analyses these issues, and recommends ways to improve SWP governance, both in Australia and in the sending countries, with the objective of promoting the sustainable growth of seasonal labour mobility from the Pacific and Timor-Leste into Australia. It is the culmination of years of research, including fieldwork undertaken over six years in 11 countries.


Professor Stephen Howes is Director of the Development Policy Centre. He has a PhD in economics from the London School of Economics. He served in various positions for a decade at the World Bank before becoming AusAID’s first Chief Economist in 2005. He is now Professor of Economics at the Crawford School of Public Policy, ANU.

Dr Richard Curtain is a Research Fellow specialising in Pacific labour mobility. As a public policy consultant, he has worked on labour mobility on assignments related to the APTC, and in Fiji, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Timor-Leste and Tonga. He is the co-author with colleagues at Devpolicy of a paper for the World Bank on Pacific Labour Mobility and organised a workshop at Devpolicy on this topic in June 2016.

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