There are 22,000 pre-vetted pacific workers on standby, ready to take up farm work in regional Australia.
Minister for Agriculture, David Littleproud, is urging states and territories to work with their health officials to approve quarantine arrangements and recruitments as a matter of priority.
“The harvest has already begun and we know our farmers are still short even after these jobs have been market tested with Australians," Minister Littleproud said.
“The Federal Government has done its bit both to attract international workers and to incentivise farm work for young Australians."
The Federal Government's program launched Relocation Assistance to Take Up a Job (RATTUAJ) offers city-dwellers incentives of up to $6,000 to move to regional towns, but it does not appear to be luring enough people into farm work to make up the shortfall.
“We’ll stamp the visas but it’s now up to the states to adopt the National Ag Workers Code and to approve quarantine arrangements for seasonal and pacific workers."
Senior Riverland citrus figure Jeff Knispel, joint managing director of Nippy’s in Waikerie, has told the Murray Pioneer that there is not enough of an incentive for job-seekers to take up work in the regions while they are receiving welfare payments.
"They've missed the target and seem to be in denial of what the real problem is. If you pay people to stay home, they will," Mr Knispel told the Pioneer on Wednesday 28 October.
Story by Jennie Lenman, Photo by Tom Fisk from Pexels