Workforce Shortage Issues and Banana Job Vacancies

Labour hire concerns 

Growers who have any concerns regarding pay rates, or other contractual practices used by labour hire companies, have many resources available to be proactive in protecting yourself and your staff. Find out more here. 

PLS/SWP Queensland Industry Updates

Queensland Agriculture and QAWN are hosting PLS/SWP Industry Updates throughout Queensland, including in Mareeba and Innisfail.

The updates provide an opportunity for people involved with the programs, or wanting to be, to hear the latest developments and ask questions.
 
Atherton Tablelands Industry Update: Tuesday October 5, 9.45am – 2.30pm, Mareeba Leagues Club. Reserve your place: https://bit.ly/3820KxT
 
Innisfail Industry Update: Wednesday October 6, 9.45am – 2.30pm, Innisfail Brothers Leagues Club. Reserve your place: https://bit.ly/3AT9Vgz
 
There will be limits on numbers at venues so don’t miss out!
 

Ag Visa needed now

ABGC has written to the Prime Minister, as well as the Deputy Prime Minister, Minister for Home Affairs and Minister for Agriculture, asking for the implementation of the Ag Harvest Visa this year.  ABGC encourages growers to write to the Government, asking for urgent action to secure a returning workforce.

QAWN funding extended

The Queensland Agriculture Workforce Network (QAWN) is being extended to late 2022 with $1.7M in funding.

Formed in 2016, QAWN is a regional network of industry-based agricultural workforce officers who work directly with producers and operators across the supply chain to assist in addressing recruitment and skilling issues. The Far North Queensland contact is Leanne Kruss (leannefnqagriculture@gmail.com or 0431 743 633).

Worker shortages on banana farms continue to be an issue of critical concern. It is one of the ABGC’s highest priorities (to help ensure growers have access to staff), but the complexities of the matter – particularly the Seasonal Worker Program (SWP) – coupled with government decisions and circumstances that change frequently, makes it an extremely difficult issue to navigate.

ABGC’s CEO Jim Pekin and Executive Officer Leanne Erakovic continue to have a range of discussions on harvest workforce needs for the banana industry, with growers, Approved Employers and Government representatives. Through these discussions and negotiations it is hoped we can continue to develop solutions to our workforce issues, both immediately and in the longer term. 

In addition, the ABGC has established a dedicated Job Vacancies page and continues to promote banana farm work extensively to school leavers and university students, largely through social media. You can view two of the promotional videos, made by the ABGC, below. 

Growers are encouraged to visit this page regularly for updates. You can also:

  • Sign up to ABGC e-bulletins (email amy@abgc.org.au
  • Follow ABGC on Facebook 
  • Ensure you are receiving the industry magazine Australian Bananas. Please email info@abgc.org.au with current details if you would like to be added to the distribution list.
  • Contact Executive Officer Leanne Erakovic via email or on 07 3278 4786.

Additional resources and information for banana growers:

 

Guidelines approved for regional quarantine facilities – QLD

The Queensland Government will now consider proposals for regional quarantine facilities, designed to accommodate larger numbers of workers.

Arrangements for these facilities would be similar to on-farm quarantine arrangements, in that an International Quarantine Plan must be approved by Queensland’s Chief Health Officer. However, workers will remain at the facility and participate in training and organised activities rather than working on a farm.

An approved employer who is interested in operating a regional facility should read the regional quarantine facility guidelines and contact DAF to discuss making an application for arrangements at the facility. Guidelines for regional quarantine facilities are available here

Prospective applicants for regional facilities are encouraged to seek a pre-lodgement meeting with QDAF via dafcovid19plsswp@daf.qld.gov.au.

The ABGC continues to advocate for more places to be made available in hotel quarantine.

Important information 

Latest news on restrictions across Queensland here. 

Link to the Check in QLD App here (whilst this is not mandatory for farming businesses it is a quick and easy way for visitors to register. 

Latest news on restrictions across NSW here. 

Latest news on restrictions in the NT here. 

Latest news on restrictions in WA here. 

Advertising for seasonal workers? Here are some tips from the QLD Department of Agriculture and Fisheries.

If you’re advertising for seasonal workers, don’t forget to include details of the incentives that are now available.

We’ve noticed some employers are advertising on social media and on urban job boards, so we want to make sure your prospective workers have all the latest information, particularly if they’re new to the agricultural industry and keen to give it a go.

Some suggested wording for your job ads:

  • New to farm work and want to know what to expect before you apply? Check out the FarmReady Hub.
  • You may also be able to access assistance from the Queensland and Australian governments if you relocate to take up this position. Check out #pickqld for more information.