Wednesday, 13 January 2021

Trial to explore new ways to encourage people to take up opportunities in horticulture

Bundaberg Fruit and Vegetable Growers are one of five organisations selected to take part in the $1 million Harvest Trail Services Industry Collaboration Trial to find new ways to encourage people to take up seasonal work opportunities in horticulture.

Federal Member for Hinkler Keith Pitt said local growers have faced difficulty attracting workers and the trial would explore a range of initiatives to get the labour force needed to get local crops off.

“Bundaberg Fruit and Vegetable Growers will receive a share of funding to investigate ways to get more people into the horticulture sector.

“Being able to test-run these different approaches will hopefully see more Australian job seekers take up seasonal work, which there is plenty of right now.

Bundaberg Fruit and Vegetable Growers Managing Director Bree Grima said she was really pleased to be the only regional grower group selected to deliver a Harvest Trail Services Collaboration Trial.

“Our program will work within the Wide Bay and Sunshine Moreton Harvest areas delivering services to employers, job seekers and horticultural growers. This program is about creating long-term solutions for growers to develop and retain a reliable workforce,” Ms Grima said.

“Our activities we will be delivered over the next 18 months and will include delivering employment activities that build the local workforce, providing mentoring support to growers to ensure employment legal obligations are adhered to, providing mediation services where suitable to support reduced staff turnover, increased long term employment outcomes and importantly building employer confidence in accessing the local workforce pool.

“We’ll also work directly with Australian jobseekers to promote work opportunities and career pathways in horticulture. Career induction videos will showcase a range of employment opportunities in horticulture from picking, packing, administrative tasks, marketing, and quality assurance through to management.

“We know that there are many exciting and rewarding careers in horticulture and are excited to bring this program to the selected regions to support the long-term viability of our industry and build a reliable workforce,” she said.

Mr Pitt said as well as the trial, the Australian Government is providing relocation assistance to people who relocate to harvest and regional areas to take up agricultural work.

From 1 November 2020, relocation assistance is available to people who relocate to harvest and regional areas to take up short-term agricultural work, including Australians who are not receiving income support and those with the right to work in Australia.

Those relocating to take up short-term agricultural work may be eligible to receive up to $6,000 if they are an Australian worker; or $2,000 if they are visa holders with general work rights in Australia, not restricted to an employer or a type of work.

The five organisations selected for the Harvest Trail Services Industry Collaboration Trial are:

  • Fruit Growers Victoria Limited
  • Northern Territory Farmers Association Incorporated
  • Queensland Fruit and Vegetable Growers Limited (GrowCom)
  • Bundaberg Fruit and Vegetable Growers Cooperative Limited
  • AUSVEG Limited.

More details on the Harvest Trail can be found at https://jobsearch.gov.au/harvest

For more information about Relocation Assistance to Take Up a Job visit: https://jobsearch.gov.au/harvest/workers/relocation-assistance

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