Desperate farmers crying out for workers have been thrown a lifeline through a campaign aimed at enticing young workers to plug gaps in the labour force.
Desperate farmers crying out for workers have been thrown a lifeline through a campaign aimed at enticing young workers to plug gaps in the labour force.

Harvest work incentive: How to earn big money picking fruit

DESPERATE farmers crying out for workers have been thrown a lifeline through a digital marketing campaign aimed at enticing up to 400,000 young workers to plug gaps in the season labour force.

On Wednesday, the federal government announced $17.4m would be spent to address a short-term worker shortage by targeting 18-34-year-olds with generous incentives to go where the work is.

Workers relocating to take up short-term agricultural work may be eligible to receive up to $6000.

Workers relocating more than 90 minutes from home to take on seasonal work could be paid up to $6000. Picture: Che Chorley
Workers relocating more than 90 minutes from home to take on seasonal work could be paid up to $6000. Picture: Che Chorley

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Up to $2000 for non-Australian visa holders with general work rights is also being offered.

The social media campaign will target job seekers in Far North Queensland, southern Queensland, NSW and Victoria, with the call to action to visit the Harvest Trail website.

FNQ Growers chairman Joe Moro said he welcomed the scheme that pays workers who travel further than 90 minutes from home.

"It's a pretty good incentive if you're young and want to see the countryside," he said.

"It can really help you get a good kickstart and take a year's gap. And from the feedback I am getting (the scheme) is slowly picking up interest from Aussies."

Mr Moro said the situation for Atherton Tableland growers was a "concern" but fruit was not rotting on trees.

FNQ Growers chairman Joe Moro welcomed the scheme.
FNQ Growers chairman Joe Moro welcomed the scheme.

"It's not that serious and we think that it probably won't get that serious, but we do know it has been difficult to fill positions," he said.

"There's a great deal of concern right across the state, not just up here, about the future - 2021 is going to be a tough year for the horticulture industry because of the fact that we don't know how certain our labour supply will be."

The aim of the campaign is to increase awareness of the harvest trail website and encourage Australian job seekers to look for harvest work and raise awareness of the financial assistance available through relocation assistance.

It is understood the scheme pays workers in instalments for up to 12 weeks, and personnel can be eligible for multiple grants if eligibility requirements are met.

Leichhardt MP Warren Entsch said the scheme was a great opportunity for school leavers to see the country and get paid.

"Instead of travelling overseas, why don't they take some time and pick some fruit," he said.

"We are not talking of people taking this up as their long-term career, this is an opportunity to earn some good cash before Christmas. Do a bit of work to get themselves fit, maybe make a few friends, and that can cash them up to other things in the future."

Originally published as Harvest work incentive: How to earn big money picking fruit


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