Finding critical workers for the upcoming harvest season will be easier for our farmers thanks to the inclusion of the new Agricultural Workers Code into NSW public health orders relating to COVID-19.

The NSW Nationals in the state government have paved the way for our farmers to make the most of what will be a critical first harvest following three years or more of record-breaking drought.

We know our farmers make a vital contribution to the state’s $15.9 billion primary industries sector, and more importantly to our local communities and the regional economy. Now they are poised to reap the rewards of one of the best seasons we’ve had since 2016 through this code, which will allow the free movement of agricultural workers across state borders.

The NSW Nationals in the state government have spearheaded the discussion on this issue, championing the introduction of the Agricultural Workers Code and now we have been the first to activate it.

The new NSW Agricultural Worker Permit will provide an avenue for eligible works from the agriculture industry to move into NSW – if they meet the permit requirements. A number of requirements must be met before a worker is provided with a permit. This is to ensure we are adopting sensible and practical COVID-Safe principles.

This includes having not been in a COVID-19 restricted or area of concern, ability to self-isolate when not working and having documentation to support the permit.

Importantly, those with an Agricultural Worker Permit may cross the border by land – this means they don’t need to enter NSW via Sydney airport.

Agricultural worker permits will be available from www.service.nsw.gov.au from Friday.