Peak representative body for Queensland horticulture, Growcom has today welcomed the Queensland Government’s announcement of a new $1.1 million funding package to get more seasonal workers onto farms across Queensland.
Growcom Manger, Policy & Advocacy Richard Shannon said Growcom applauds the government for listening to the needs of industry.
“Growcom has been advocating for some time now with State and Federal Governments that we need a range of options on the table to help fill the shortfall in available labour,” Mr Shannon said.
“What we are witnessing right now is a large and long predicted problem that is really starting to bite.
“Attracting more Queenslanders to our industry by offsetting their travel and accommodation costs must be explored.
“If successful, the incentive scheme announced today will help to address the looming seasonal worker shortage in Queensland and mean our farmers can continue to supply Queenslanders with fresh produce.”
The scheme includes payments of up to $1500 to assist with accommodation and transport costs associated with travelling and staying in remote locations.
Growcom is also seeking a public commitment from the Queensland Government to opting into two Australian Government programs for sourcing seasonal workers from Pacific Island nations.
“Growers need confidence their labour needs will be met, not just tomorrow but well into next year,” Mr Shannon said.
“Decisions are being made today about production for 2021. We’ve heard worrying reports of growers planning on only planting half what they would normally, simply due to an anticipated lack of labour.
“As an industry we need strong signals from State and Federal Governments that our labour supply, and ultimately the nation’s food security, is a high priority.
“We again thank the Queensland Government for the positive signal they’ve sent today.”