National Farmers' Federation

PETITION TO ministers:

Farmers call for
Pacific Worker Bubble

Australia is currently experiencing a major farm worker shortage as a result of COVID-19 travel restrictions. With an expected shortfall of 26,000 workers by 2021 it’s time for an urgent response to support our farmers.

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. 

Petition to Ministers on Pacific Worker Bubble

Dear Ministers

I have seen reports from farmers across Australia who have had to let their fresh produce rot due to a lack of on farm workers.

This is devastating news for our farmers who have only just started their recovery from years of drought.

Heading into peak harvest and picking season, it is time to urgently consider options to expand the Seasonal Worker Program Pilot.

The Federal Government has already demonstrated that an expanded Seasonal Worker Program can be carried out in a controlled and safe manner.

It's now time for state and territory governments to establish the necessary protocols so we can expedite travel for low-risk Pacific nations.

I’m calling on your government to help urgently establish a Pacific Worker Bubble that will get Pacific workers back onto Australian farms.

%%your signature%%

Yours sincerely,
6 signatures

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