The Federal Government’s Seasonal Worker Program can assist growers in employing new workers.

Fruit and vegetable growers in the Lockyer Valley and Bundaberg have the opportunity to learn how the Federal Government’s Seasonal Worker Programme (SWP) can assist them in employing and skilling new workers at information sessions supported by Growcom in August.

International workers from the Solomon Islands, Fiji, Papua New Guinea (PNG) and Tuvalu will be joined by representatives from the Labour Mobility Assistance Program (LMAP), the Queensland Agriculture Workforce Network (QAWN) and the Office of Industrial Relations to discuss the benefits of the program and how growers can get involved.

Growers will receive an overview of the SWP and hear from current approved employers such as Kerry McCarthy from GraceKate Farms on the Darling Downs who has expanded her business since employing workers from the Solomon Islands. Ms McCarthy will be speaking at the Lockyer Valley information session about how the programme has ensured her a consistent returning workforce.

Along with first-hand testimonials, workshops attendees will be introduced to Pacific Island Labour Sending Unit staff and receive an update on labour hire licensing from the Office of Industrial Relations. The information sessions will conclude with a Q&A session and dinner with the Pacific Island nation representatives.

These sessions aim to inform growers of the options to diversify recruitment sources by mixing-and-matching workers from the SWP countries. This can help safeguard growers from a dip their workforce when popular Pacific Island nations can’t send workers due to unforeseen circumstances.
The August sessions are a continuation of the successful Queensland road show held in March.

Growcom is proud to work closely with QAWN to help promote the Seasonal Worker Programme which has offered Queensland growers an answer to their casual workforce needs.

In 2016/17, Australian employers hired 477 workers from Timor-Leste, 190 from Fiji, 139 from Papua New Guinea and just 87 from Solomon Islands compared with 2690 from Tonga and 2150 from Vanuatu.

Source: North Queensland Register