The NSW Nationals in the state government have scored a major win for farmers, who have been hard-hit by COVID-induced workforce shortages.
NSW Nationals Agriculture Minister Adam Marshall has announced that quarantine costs for overseas agricultural workers will be halved.
“We know that our primary producers rely on seasonal and foreign workers, but we have heard loud and clear that the cost of mandatory quarantine is a significant barrier for farming businesses wanting to employ overseas workers,” Mr Marshall said.
“As a result of today’s announcement, we expect to see an increase in applications through the Pacific Labour Scheme and or Seasonal Worker Program as the proposition for farmers becomes a lot more viable.”
Overseas agricultural workers entering the country under the Pacific Labour Scheme (PLS) or Seasonal Worker Program (SWP) will be eligible for a 50 per cent subsidy of the cost of mandatory quarantine to reduce the cost to industry from $3000 per person to $1500 per person.
The NSW Nationals in the state government know that assisting Australians who want to return home will continue to be a major priority, but we can’t ignore the importance of our agricultural sector and its critical need for workers.
All seasonal workers approved to quarantine in NSW during the 2020/21 financial year will be eligible for the subsidy, provided the majority of their work is undertaken in NSW.