26 September 2023

Workers wanted down on the farm

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The Department of Agriculture and Fisheries has launched a campaign to attract winter harvest workers to help farmers and growers gather their products to send to market.

The #pickqld Winter Harvest 2021 Campaign is targeting jobseekers across the country, as well those who escape winter in Queensland and stay in regional areas.

Minister for Agricultural Industry Development and Fisheries, Mark Furner said it was well known that working holidaymakers were a traditional source of labour for the winter harvest, but with no backpackers from overseas there were jobs available for Australians.

“We are supporting our food providers by encouraging people from all walks of life and age groups, who are looking for something different and are in the position to relocate for short-term work, to give a farm job a go,” Mr Furner said.

He said the campaign was one of a number of initiatives in place to support food supply to consumers.

“Queensland residents travelling to take up harvest work could be eligible for up to $1,500 under the Back to Work in Agriculture Incentive Scheme,” the Minister said.

“There is also support to industry through Queensland Agricultural Workforce Network officers and the Department of Agriculture and Fisheries’ regionally-based Agriculture Coordination Officers who work with growers on workforce issues including recruitment, training and retention.”

He said the Department was also supporting quarantine arrangements for agricultural workers arriving as part of the Pacific Labour Scheme and Seasonal Worker Program.

Mr Furner said the industry would be boosted by the arrival of more than 550 Pacific workers over the next two months, to complement the 1,223 who had already arrived and started work.

President of the Queensland Strawberry Growers Association, Adrian Schultz said the strawberry industry was facing the most challenging growing season in its long history.

“Growers have made a significant investment in buying and planting strawberry runners, and without the right number of workers available to harvest the crop across the winter our farms face serious financial consequences,” Mr Schultz said.

The Department’ campaign can be accessed at this PS News link.

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