Farm workers needed
Farm workers are desperately needed for Queensland farms, according to State Member for Mirani, Stephen Andrew. Thousands of jobs are available for unemployed Australians in regional Queensland and other parts of the country currently experiencing an acute labour shortage brought on by closed borders.
One Nation leader Senator Pauline Hanson joined local growers in Ayr this week where farmers were at a loss to what more they could do to encourage Australians to move to regional farming areas.
“Border closures have reduced the availability of overseas workers and this has opened enormous job opportunities for unemployed Australians,” Senator Hanson said. “In Queensland, it’s been estimated there will be a shortage this year of about 9000 workers in agricultural industries alone. Many farmers are concerned their produce will go to waste because there are not enough people to pick, pack and process it. Before the pandemic, a lot of seasonal agricultural jobs in Australia were usually taken by backpackers or workers brought to Australia under programs like the Pacific Labour Scheme. The industry has relied strongly on this imported labour despite there being hundreds of thousands of unemployed Australians perfectly capable of doing the work.”

Assistance for farm workers to relocate

Relocation costs are no longer a barrier to Australians seeking these jobs because state and Federal governments now have financial support in place to help unemployed people meet these expenses.
“The Queensland Government provides up to $1500 in assistance for eligible people relocating for agricultural work like picking fruit, and the Australian Government provides up to $6000 in assistance for eligible people relocating to a regional area for work. That’s a lot of support,” Senator Hanson said.
“There are advantages in living and working in regional areas, such as lower accommodation costs and house prices. They haven’t experienced pandemic lockdowns as often as our cities have. When people are concerned about housing affordability, how can beat buying a house in Ayr for less than $200,000 and be guaranteed work all year round?”
Senator Hanson said governments needed to examine more ways to get unemployed Australians into Australian jobs instead of importing labour.
“There’s been some uptake of these relocation incentives, but they’re not meeting all of the demand for seasonal agricultural workers,” she said. “It’s about time Channel Seven rethink next years filming of farmer wants a wife and consider a new program called “Farmer Wants a Worker”. Governments need to examine why these programs are not as effective as they could be, and start getting tough on lazy, long term unemployed Australians who think welfare can be treated as a lifestyle.
“Farmers are paying top dollar for workers, so they deserve to see productivity. If the carrot approach is not working, some form of stick approach should also be considered. It makes no sense to spend taxpayer dollars on importing overseas workers to meet a labour shortage while paying unemployment benefits to Australians capable of doing the work.”
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