vegetablesWA is about to embark on a landmark pilot project to assess the benefits of Australia’s seasonal worker program to vegetable growers.
The State Government will fund the pilot project that will run for 12 months and assess the benefits to the horticultural industry of providing a facilitation service for the Seasonal Worker Programme and the Pacific Labour Scheme.
vegetablesWA CEO John Shannon visited Albany for the announcement with the Minister for Primary Industry and Regional Development, The Hon Alannah MacTiernan and the Ambassador of Timor Leste, His Excellency Mr Abel Guterres.
“Obtaining and retaining reliable farm labour is one of the biggest challenges facing vegetable growers in WA,” Mr Shannon said.
“Under the 12-month trial project, we will identify between six and 12 WA horticulture businesses willing to participate in the trial and assess their labour needs, constraints and opportunities.
“The intention is to establish improved linkages for growers with the Australian Government’s Pacific Labour Scheme and the Seasonal Labour Programme to better match workers to the identified needs of the participating businesses.
“This pilot project arose through conversations between the state government, industry and Timor Leste. We are really pleased to have had such good support from Timor Leste for the concept as a country who participates in the Seasonal Labour Programme.
“vegetablesWA will also make any recommendations as to how industry and government can better improve the use of seasonal worker programs to benefit the WA horticultural industry to continue to grow, and to support the workers involved.
“Through taking an active role in pilot projects such as this vegetablesWA is able to future-proof the industry and try to get ahead of the difficulties faced by local growers who rely on seasonal workers.
“I would like to thank the State Government through the Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development for the funding to carry out this important project.”