These are uncertain times for many businesses, including tourism, hospitality, retail, event providers and growers. Australia’s response to the coronavirus is constantly changing in an effort to guarantee the health and safety of everyone.
In the South West region horticulture is a large employer, leading to Member for Warren-Blackwood, Terry Redman proactively working to ensure there will be enough workers available over the coming months.
“I have spoken to a number of local growers who are concerned there will be insufficient seasonal workers over the coming months,” Mr Redman said.
“Many growers in the region rely on backpackers and overseas workers, many who come regularly and are very experienced.
“I have contacted the Deputy Prime Minister’s office to seek Federal Government support on extending the visas of backpackers who are currently in the country and prepared to work in the horticulture industry.
“These backpackers are already in Australia and working in regional areas, so there is minimal risk to others. There is no need for isolation and it may be a lot safer for these young people to remain in Australia than returning home.
“I am also aware many casual workers in the hospitality industry are struggling to find regular employment. There is a real opportunity for young people to experience country life by joining the seasonal workforce, as our horticultural growers still need pickers.
“I applaud the work of the Manjimup Community Resource Centre who manage the Southern Forest Employment Hub, and encourage both growers and job seekers to register their interest on this platform. This links to all surrounding CRCs and towns and can provide a conduit to employment opportunities.
“Whilst people may be stockpiling non-perishable goods, our local producers are still working hard to supply fresh food, and we need to ensure this continues,” Mr Redman said.