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The ‘underwhelming’ take-up of the fruit-picking scheme

Scott Emerson
Article image for The ‘underwhelming’ take-up of the fruit-picking scheme

Just 85 people have signed on to a state government scheme to pick fruit and vegetables in Queensland, as the industry grapples with a dire shortage of workers.

The Back to Work in Agriculture Scheme gives people a $1500 incentive to relocate and then pick fruit or vegetables for 8 weeks.

Stone fruit grower and Granite Belt Growers Association President Angus Ferrier has told Scott Emerson the numbers were underwhelming.

He said there were two main issues in regards to the tangible shortage of workers.

“One; that Aussies are not always able to relocate.

“I think we must acknowledge there are plenty of working age people who are not in a position to leave their metropolitan homes to move to a regional area for 3, 4 months at a time.

“And then I think we probably all acknowledge that there are a proportion of the population who are unwilling to do this sort of physical work, and that’s the reality of our industry.

“The fact that the state has successfully incentivised, let’s call it dozens of workers, and the federal government has done likewise with hundred of workers, is nothing but underwhelming in the face of the industry needing in the order of 20,000-25,000 workers in the next few months.”

Click PLAY below to hear the full interview

Scott Emerson