By Growcom CEO Stephen Barnard

Through the 80’s and 90’s Meadow Lea margarine ran a series of highly successful ads with the famous “You ought to be congratulated” jingle.

The ads sent the message that not only was adding copious amounts of Meadow Lea margarine to any number of dishes a good thing to do, but also the right thing to do.

Today we need a jingle and campaign that says getting vaccinated is not only worthy of praise, but part of our obligation as individuals to a functioning society.

Because as the four phase COVID-19 recovery roadmap agreed by National Cabinet clearly outlines, there is no other way out.

And more than many industries, horticulture has more at stake in getting Australia vaccinated.

With 70 percent of the population vaccinated, the next phase of the roadmap includes restoring inbound passenger caps at previous levels for unvaccinated returning travellers, and larger caps of vaccinated returning travellers.

It will also include allowing entry of student and economic visa holders, likely including those holding the new agriculture harvest visa.

This all means more labour coming into the country, conceivably including backpackers who were told to go home last year, to alleviate the current critical shortage of seasonal harvest workers. With more people travelling, trade routes that have become uncommercial will also start to open up.

The fresh produce sector needs to take the situation into our own hands, by getting a vaccine into our own arms as soon as possible, and also encouraging everyone in our personal and professional networks to do the same.

For their part, the Queensland Government could consider prioritizing next the fresh produce supply chain for vaccination.

Precedents exist. Already meatworks in Queensland have priority. Recently it was agreed supermarket workers in Sydney should jump the queue.

Meanwhile, as you read this, less than 15 percent of the national population are fully vaccinated, and 70 percent seems a long way away.

So the Federal Government could do worse than work on a jingle to add to the current campaign that says, “you ought to be vaccinated”.