Last week, AUSVEG representatives were in Canberra advocating to Federal Government for solutions regarding the Harvest Labour Shortage, which is at a critical stage.

AUSVEG and the National Farmers’ Federation (NFF), via the NFF Horticulture Council, were advocating two main points:

  1. The expansion of the Trans-Tasman bubble to include COVID-free Pacific Island Nations

This would still need each state government to opt-in to the bubble, but would allow a pathway for growers and states to be able to bring in workers outside of the quarantine and outside of the International Returners Cap, which has proven to be very problematic for many states.

This would still require sign-off from premiers and state chief health officers; however, given the critical nature of the harvest labour shortage, it is the only genuine option industry sees to bringing in harvest labour at the scale required.

  1. Improving the criteria of the Relocation Assistance to Take Up a Job (RATTUAJ)

These changes include looking at providing up-front payments, greater assistance for those from non-English speaking backgrounds and offering digital applications.

Industry is urging Option 1 as the only genuine option for growers to be able to bring in any workers at-scale to deal with a problem that is continuing to escalate.

Click here to read more in AUSVEG’s latest advocacy update.