More than 2,000 overseas skilled agricultural workers have arrived in NSW in the last 12 months to help industry overcome the COVID-induced labour shortage.
Nationals Minister for Agriculture Adam Marshall said the lack of workers in the agricultural sector remained at critical levels, which is why the NSW Government’s continued support was so important.
“The number of overseas skilled agricultural workers we’ve helped arrive safely to work on farms and in meat processing factories across the state has now ticked past 2,000 – more than any other State,” Mr Marshall said.
“It is critical industry has the workforce it needs during these challenging times so there can be minimal disruption to supply chains. This labour boost is an important step towards securing our food supply.
“Right now workers are rolling up their sleeves, from Moree to Junee, in Singleton and in Scone, from Guyra down to Wagga Wagga and in many more bush communities.
“They have provided a substantial boost to our horticulture and meat processing sectors in particular.”
Mr Marshall said in addition to aiding their arrival, the NSW Nationals in the state government had also provided financial relief for agricultural businesses under its hotel quarantine subsidy program.
“We understand the cost of hotel quarantine is a significant barrier for farming businesses, which is why we subsidise 50 per cent of those costs,” Mr Marshall said.
“This subsidy reduces the cost to industry from roughly $3,000 per person to $1,500.
“NSW is by far the cheapest jurisdiction in Australia for industry to bring in critical ag workers, which underscores the value we place on the agricultural sector here.
“So far we have provided $2.86 million in support under the program and that figure will continue to grow significantly while international borders remain shut.”
The arrival of the more than 2,000 overseas agricultural workers was approved under the Pacific Labour Scheme and Seasonal Workers Program. Mandatory hotel quarantine applies to all international arrivals in accordance with Public Health Orders.