We’re calling on state ministers to act immediately to expand the Seasonal Worker Program Pilot program and help solve Australia’s farm worker shortage.
The impact of Australia’s current labour shortage is already being felt by farmers across the country with an estimated $22 million in crop losses having already been reported.
Australia’s agriculture sector is heavily dependent on overseas workers.
In 2018/19 overseas workers accounted for more than half of the temporary workforce employed in Australian horticulture.
Reliable estimates show that Australia’s agriculture sector need up to 26,000 workers in horticulture during peak harvest season.
There are currently only 6,000 Seasonal Worker Program workers who remained in Australia when the international border closures came into effect in March, but a majority of these workers want to go home.
According to Federal Agriculture Minister David Littleproud, there are about 22,000 workers ready in the Pacific Nations.
These Nations have very low infection rates, some even lower than Australia.
The Government has already demonstrated the effectiveness of the Seasonal Worker Program Pilot and that it can be carried out in a controlled and safe manner.
And while displaced Australians are the first choice for farm work, the industry needs urgent action.
A Pacific Labour Bubble will help take the burden off Australian farmers.
Farmers need the borders opened to incoming Seasonal Worker Program workers.
Help us in our call to introduce a Pacific Worker Bubble by sending an e-mail to the state and territory health and agriculture ministers.