Aussies are being offered a $6000 incentive to lure them to the regions to fill critical workforce shortages.
Under a new federal government initiative, jobseekers will be eligible for up to $2000 in relocation assistance when they complete 40 hours of agricultural work in a fortnight.
If workers stay in the job and complete 120 hours over at least four weeks, they will be reimbursed up to $6000.
Temporary visa holders will also be eligible for handouts worth $650 and $2000, respectively.
Employment Minister Stuart Robert said the existing eligibility period had been slashed from six weeks to two to incentivise workers under the AgMove program.
“This will help to address the continued high demand for harvest workers across Australia by encouraging much-needed workers to stay on the job for longer,” Mr Robert said.
“Whether you’re a student on university break, on a working holiday or an experienced long-time worker, the Australian government is providing you the flexibility needed to give agricultural jobs a go.”
Mr Robert said the new approach, developed with the agricultural sector, would provide jobseekers with the right incentives to try farm work during short but intense harvesting seasons.
Growers in January revealed they had lost more than $38 million worth of fruit and vegetables harvests due to pandemic-induced workforce shortages.
The alarming figures prompted industry experts to warn that losses will soar, if more was not done to attract seasonal workers to Australia.
WHAT JOBS ARE AVAILABLE?
Jobs eligible for the relocation assistance are available through the government’s Harvest Trail website and include:
• Production of harvest crops, including picking and pollinating
• Planting and preparation for planting of harvest crops
• Propagation of harvest crops, including growing new plants from seeds
• Processing and packing operations for harvest crops and packing shed operations
• Local storage and transportation of harvest crops
• Manufacturing dairy produce from raw material
• Immediate processing of animal products, including shearing, butchery, packing and tanning
• Livestock labouring: feeding, breeding, and raising livestock
HOW DOES IT WORK?
If people move to a regional area and, for example, works 30 hours a week for two weeks, they are eligible to be reimbursed for up to $2000 for costs such as petrol, work clothes and accommodation.
HOW DO I GET THE CARROT?
Interested people are required to provide invoices, receipts or other evidence of valid relocation costs to be reimbursed to you or directly to a supplier.
Up to two months of accommodation costs can be reimbursed under the program.