Agricultural employers are set to reap benefits from recently announced changes to the Seasonal Workers Program. The changes will help farmers meet the demands of higher seasonal workloads when it’s difficult to find the quantities of local personnel. The program will no longer be restricted to horticulture, expanding out to a range of agricultural industries.
The changes include uncapping annual limits of participants in the program and an expansion to incorporate other agricultural industries such as aquaculture, cane and cotton. The program is designed to assist Australian employers who face shortages of local staff around times of harvest, picking and muster.
Federal Member for Parkes Mark Coulton welcomed the announcement, saying it would bring many benefits to employers across his agriculturally focused electorate. However, he encouraged businesses to go local where possible:
“While we are determined to ensure businesses across Australia have access to the seasonal workers they need, we are equally determined that no Australian misses out on a job.”
The Seasonal Workers Program is a boon for regional areas where labour can be in short supply during peak seasons. Workers can return in following seasons, enabling employers to build lasting relationships with reliable and productive staff. Seasonal Workers have the same workplace relations and health and safety standards as Australian job seekers.
More information on can be found at www.employment.gov.au/seasonal-worker-programme.