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This section outlines official Press and Media Statements issued by the Ministry of Information and Communications in addition to Press Releases from the Prime Minister's Office and other Government Ministries and Departments.

Australian Company Praises Tongan Seasonal Workers

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01 Aug. 2012. The Australian company, Tomato Exchange, has highly praised the contribution that Tongan seasonal workers are making towards its success in growing tomatoes all year round in two environmentally sustainable glasshouses in the town of Guyra in northern New South Wales. The two glasshouses are the largest in Australia, covering a total land area of 20.16 hectares.

Speaking on behalf of Tomato Exchange, General Manager Richard Hamley, said of the Tongan workers, "They are such a cheerful, happy bunch of workers, and wow - what workers! Very skilled, learn quickly, very willing, and hard workers."

Tomato Exchange had started using Tongan seasonal workers in 2010 beginning with 10 employed by MADEC Labour Hire Company who recruited the workers from Tonga through Samuela Fangaloka's company, Melie Mei Langi. By December 2011 the number of Tongan workers had increased to 40 and right now there are 29 workers with more expected to arrive by September.

Guyra is located at 1330 metres above sea level, and is known for its extremely cold winters, by Australian standards, with an average of 59 frosty nights having subzero temperatures each year and some snowfalls. But the Tongan workers enjoy working at the Tomato Exchange facilities because the temperatures inside the glasshouses are similar to those in Tonga and they are guaranteed work everyday even though it is cold and may be raining or snowing outside.

According to the Glasshouse Manager, Paul Anderson, the Tongan workers are very reliable and need the minimum of supervision which makes it easier to plan where you need to be, what you need to get done and not fall short at the end of the week.

And according to Administration Manager, Mark Gilbert, the Tongan workers are the only Pacific Island workers that Tomato Exchange have used under the Seasonal Workers Scheme, and as far as he is concerned, he doubts if the company will hire from any other country in the future.


(For further information please contact: Lopeti Senituli on 61 424 067 286 or Meleoni Uera on 61 414 753 313)

Ministry of Internal Affairs is responsible for: Culture & Youth Development; Sports Development; Women's Affairs; Employment Services Centre; Office of Ha'apai Governor; Office of Vava'u Governor; Community Development and Local Government.

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