The Australian Banana Growers’ Council (ABGC) has welcomed a Federal Government decision to allow temporary changes to visa arrangements, ensuring workforce stability across the industry.
Under the changes, workers within the Pacific Labour Scheme, Seasonal Worker Program and working holiday makers will be able to extend their stay and continue to work within the agriculture sector until the coronavirus crisis has passed.
Before moving to other parts of the country, these workers will need to self-isolate for 14 days and register at the Australia.gov.au website. Those who do not comply will face having their visas cancelled.
Conditions under the Seasonal Worker Program and Pacific Labour Scheme will be carried over to the new visa arrangements.
The new changes are in addition to other new measures for temporary visa holders announced by the government this week.
Read the government’s full media statement HERE
ABGC Chair Stephen Lowe welcomed today’s visa extension announcement and said it was a positive step for banana growers nationally.
“This is great news for growers and will help to ease the anxiety within the industry on this issue,” he said.
“Having a stable healthy workforce will help farmers continue to contribute to the local economy and ensure the ongoing supply of fruit to communities Australia wide.”
ABGC released a media statement today in response to the government’s announcement. It can be found HERE
While the ABGC has a lot of comprehensive information for growers on its website to assist with the health and safety of workers on farm during the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak, the National Farmers Federation has also developed a Covid-19 Farm Workplace Guide which you can find HERE