National Cabinet Pacific Worker pre-quarantine pilot a sensible decision
6 March 2021
AUSVEG, the peak industry body for the Australian vegetable industry, has applauded the decision from National Cabinet to pilot pre-departure quarantine arrangements for Pacific workers in their home countries, and is urging other states to follow in South Australia’s footsteps and opt into the arrangement.
National Cabinet agreed in a meeting on Friday 5 March 2021 to pilot pre-departure quarantine arrangements for Pacific workers in their home countries, with South Australia opting into the pilot subject to the finalisation of the arrangements. Other states are considering the arrangement with further details of in-country testing and quarantine arrangements.
The Government has indicated that it would explore in-country quarantine arrangements for Pacific workers with eligible, low-risk Pacific Neighbours.
According to AUSVEG CEO James Whiteside, the decision from National Cabinet and the willingness of South Australia to opt into the pre-quarantine arrangements will support the local horticulture industry, which is crying out for more workers.
“This is a sensible decision from the National Cabinet, and I thank Prime Minister Scott Morrison, Agriculture Minister David Littleproud and the South Australian Government for heeding the industry’s concerns and working on a solution that will hopefully bring us closer to bringing in more workers that our industry needs,” said Mr Whiteside.
“Growers will always have a preference to use local workers, but the reality is that there are not enough domestic workers who are willing to take advantage of the incentives on offer and work on-farm.”
“Interventions such as the pre-quarantine arrangements pilot agreed to at National Cabinet have been proposed by industry as a sensible, safe pathway for international workers to work on farms, and I applaud the Federal Government and the South Australian Government for listening to industry.”
“The Seasonal Worker Programme and Pacific Labour Scheme are important foreign aid mechanisms that allow us to support our Pacific neighbours. They have been hit hard by a lack of tourism and this sensible approach serves as a win-win for all involved.”
“Industry has said time and time again that solving the industry’s labour shortage will need a multi-pronged approach – we need more leadership from the other states to heed the concerns of industry and consider this and other sensible and safe options to allow fruit and vegetable growers to access the workers they need to plant, harvest and packaged their fresh produce.”
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MEDIA CONTACT: Shaun Lindhe, AUSVEG National Manager – Communications
Phone: 03 9882 0277, Mobile: 0405 977 789, Email: firstname.lastname@example.org