Would you work for $500 a DAY? Desperate farmers offer out-of-work Australians extraordinary money to pick fruitOctober 1st, 2020 | | industry
- Farmers are facing the prospect of leaving fruit to rot on trees during harvest
- COVID-19 travel restrictions have caused a severe shortage in foreign workers
- Growers are calling on unemployed Australians to fill thousands of their roles
- Farmers say while the work is tedious, it is not difficult and offers incredible pay
Desperate farmers have been forced to offer attractive wages to out-of-work Australians to help pick their fruit as their usual sources of seasonal labour have dried up due to border closures arising from Covid-19.
Faced with the prospect of their produce rotting on trees, farmers are now trying to lure unemployed Australians to fill the places of an estimated 26,000 pickers who can not travel due to border lockdowns and long quarantine periods.
Guy and Sim Gaeta have grown cherries and apples on their farm outside Orange in central NSW for more than 30 years and are becoming desperate to find more staff.
Farmers are facing the prospect of leaving fruit to rot on trees during harvest (pictured) due to a lack of fruit pickers from a decline in foreign workers amid COVID-19. Desperate farmers offer Aussies extraordinary money to pick fruit.
The couple are calling out to Australians who found themselves out of work due to government lockdowns to fill the void left by backpackers on the harvest trail.
At this time of year fruit pickers would normally be migrating from harvesting mangoes in the Northern Territory to bananas in Queensland before picking summer fruits and vegetables along the east coast.
More than $100million worth of mangoes was salvaged after a trial program in September brought 160 pickers from Vanuatu to the Northern Territory to save the harvest.
Farmer Guy Gaeta (pictured) said while the work is tedious, it is not difficult and offers incredible pay
A budget package to be announced next week will allow seasonal workers and backpackers to extend their Australian visas in an effort to aid the labour shortage.
Mr Gaeta said while the work is tedious, it is not difficult and offers an incredible daily pay rate.
‘If they want to come and work, they have the opportunity to earn $200 a day, to $500 a day,’ he said.
If pickers can not be found and the food rots, the resulting shortage of supply will send the prices of fruit and vegetables soaring across the country.
Agriculture Minister David Littleproud said the government must incentivize local workers into filling the positions that our farmers desperately need.
‘Australians haven’t wanted to take up this work and we’re going to pull out all stocks to try to get those Australians on Jobseeker into these roles,’ he said.
Source: Daily Mail online
Sourced by Mike Barrow