Rural

Worker worry for agriculture industry

RURAL IMAGES: Watermelon harvesting along Bargara Road near the Hummock. Photo: Mike Knott / NewsMail
RURAL IMAGES: Watermelon harvesting along Bargara Road near the Hummock. Photo: Mike Knott / NewsMail Mike Knott

FRUIT and vegetable growers in the Bundaberg region have not seen a drop off in the number of backpackers coming to work here - the challenge is getting them here at the right time.

Peak national vegetable body Ausveg has warned a continuing decline in the number of backpackers visiting Australia under the Working Holiday Maker program is a threat to the future of the vegetable industry.

According to new figures from the Department of Immigration and Border Protection, the number of workers coming to Australia under the 417 visa has dropped repeatedly over the past two years, with more than 34,000 fewer visas being granted in 2014-15 than in 2012-13.

This includes a nearly 60% decline in workers from Ireland and a 26% decline in workers from Taiwan and South Korea.

"The Australian vegetable industry faces critical local labour shortages during peak seasonal periods, and our growers rely on backpackers to harvest their crops and prevent crippling losses," Ausveg CEO Richard Mulcahy said.

Bundaberg Fruit and Vegetable Growers (BFVG) executive officer Peter Hockings said they had seen larger numbers of backpackers coming into the region.

"A big part of the challenge is co-ordinating them to come here at the right time," he said.

Although December, January and February were popular months for backpackers to come to the region because it was a pleasant time to be here, not many crops apart from mangoes were being harvested.

Mr Hockings said the drop in the numbers in the Working Holiday Program could be because unscrupulous operators were bringing workers in under student visas.

He said BFVG was looking forward to the report of a government task force looking into the issue.

Mr Hockings said BFVG fully encouraged the use of the Working Holiday Maker program because it was a good program.

Ausveg's Mr Mulcahy said the Working Holiday Maker program, which included the Working Holiday (subclass 417) visa and Work and Holiday (subclass 462) visa, allows visa holders to stay in Australia for 12 months.

Holders of the 417 visa can also receive a second one-year visa if they work for 88 days in regional areas, with the overwhelming majority of these extensions coming from work in agriculture, forestry and fishing.

Topics:  agriculture pickers



Foodies' scavenger hunt: are you up for it?

IF YOU want to give your tastebuds the flavour sensations of a lifetime, here is the ultimate foodie’s scavenger hunt through Brisbane.

5 minutes with Israel Folau on footy, life and love

Israel Folau and Silver Fern netballer Maria Tutaia announced their engagement last last year.

WE CAUGHT up with football star and Brisbane ex-pat Israel Folau.

10 reasons to head to South Bank this summer

Head to the only inner-city beach in Australia!

South Bank has a ridiculous amount of fun things to do.

Five mammoth events you need in your life

No Caption

BRISBANE isn’t known for doing things by halves…

How to make your child's every dream come true...

Take a dip at South Bank in the inner-city beach.

‘I DON’T want to do fun things, Mum and Dad’… said no child ever!

How to do Eat Street the right way

Know where to start and where to end to avoid a huge food coma before you get to experience all the goodies!

EVERY Friday and Saturday night, Hamilton comes alive.

You can do WHAT in Brisbane?!

Talk about arriving in style! Take your pub crawl to the next level with a helicopter!

BET you didn't know you could do these things in Brisbane...

Redundancies not happening, says Blue Care

NOT HAPPENING: Blue Care has rejected claims staff will be given redundancies at Millbank Village.

Organisation says it will 'fully support' staff

Bundy man discovers what lurks wolfishly below

CREEPY CRAWLY: Mitch Galikanokus came across this wolf spider in his front yard at the Hummock.

"It was more scared of me than I was of it.”

There's something very different about this new takeaway shop

WELCOME: The Tasty Club's Viola Rezk outside the new business on Lester St.

Want to experience Egypt without leaving Bundy?

Local Partners

Matthew McConaughey wrongly used as medical example

Doctor tried to steal credit for McConaughey's hair treatment

J.K. Rowling writes through severe back pain

An aching back couldn't stop J.K. Rowling catching inspiration

Elsa voice actor's son hates Frozen

Idina Menzel's son "hates" his mother's most famous film 'Frozen'

Chrissy Teigen likes her "soft" stretch marks

Stretch marks are no problem for Chrissy Teigen

Naomie Harris in the dark over Daniel Craig's future as 007

Naomie Harris has no idea if Daniel Craig will be returning as 007

REVIEW: Will Kasey Chambers' Dragonfly take off with fans?

Kasey Chambers’ new album Dragonfly gets 3.5 stars from Cameron Adams.

CHAMBERS is back with her 11th studio album.

By the water's edge

Secure your seachange

HOT PROPERTY: Money to spend on land, buildings

File picture.

Sale, leasing of industrial real estate picks up in Mackay

Bundy hotel on the market for a cool $8.5m

FOR SALE: The Burnett Riverside Motel has gone on the market, with a price guide of more than $8 million.

Premier hotel up for sale for more than $8m

Collapsed Coast company could owe up to $5 million

Staff, ATO, landlords among those out of pocket.

Ipswich block of dirt sells for $582 a square metre

JUST SOLD: A property on the Brookwater golf course sold for a record-breaking $612,000.

Property smashed 2007 record by close to $100,000

Ready to SELL your property?

Post Your Ad Here!