The NSW Nationals in the state government have provided approval for a further 160 critical workers to arrive from either the Soloman Islands, Tonga or Vanuatu to assist the labour-intensive tomato industry, Minister for Agriculture Adam Marshall has announced.
The 160 workers are in addition to the 350 skilled workers announced last month to help fill a labour shortage in the State’s abattoirs.
Mr Marshall said the NSW Nationals in the state government were doing everything they could to help facilitate the arrival of foreign workers to minimise supply chain disruption caused by labour shortages due to COVID-19 international travel restrictions.
“The first group of foreign workers arrives today from Fiji and will immediately enter strict hotel quarantine,” Mr Marshall said.
“Once they have completed quarantine, they will be able to travel to our regional centres and take up their roles in our abattoirs.
“As we come into the festive season, we know there will be strong demand for fantastic NSW meats.
“By helping to facilitate the arrival of these foreign workers, we are helping to take pressure off the supply chain to make sure everyone can enjoy a Christmas roast.
“Similarly, once Commonwealth approval is secured, the extra 160 foreign workers will be able to give us a hand to harvest our tomato crop.
“The tomato industry is worth more than $50 million to the State’s economy, so by providing support to the sector we also give also our rural communities that rely on its success a boost.
“We will continue to work hand in glove with the agriculture sector to explore other opportunities.”
The facilitation of foreign workers is in addition to implementing the National Agricultural Workers’ Code and launching the Help Harvest NSW portal to connect domestic labour supply with demand
The charter flights and quarantine arrangements are funded by industry.