$1M JOBS TRIAL: Financial assistance for seasonal workers
Designed to encourage more people to consider employment opportunities in the horticulture industry, a Bundaberg organisation will take part in a $1 million trial.
Five organisations including Bundaberg Fruit and Vegetable Growers (BFVG) have been selected to participate in the Harvest Trail Services Industry Collaboration Trial.
Representing the region, BFVG managing director Bree Grima said the program will deliver services to employers, job seekers and growers throughout the Wide Bay and Sunshine Moreton areas, over the duration of 18 months.
"This program is about creating long-term solutions for growers to develop and retain a reliable workforce," Ms Grima said.
"We know that there are many exciting and rewarding careers in horticulture and are excited to bring this program to the selected regions to support the long-term viability of our industry."
Ms Grima said BFVG would focus on creating activities to build the local workforce, increase long-term employment outcomes and enhance employer confidence.
In addition, she said the organisation will provide mentoring support to growers, ensuring legal obligations are followed, as well as mediation support services to reduce staff turnover.
"We'll also work directly with Australian jobseekers to promote work opportunities and career pathways in horticulture," Ms Grima said.
"Career induction videos will showcase a range of employment opportunities in horticulture from picking, packing, administrative tasks, marketing and quality assurance, through to management."
Federal Member for Hinkler Keith Pitt said the trial would explore different initiatives to encourage people to consider accepting seasonal work opportunities, after local growers had faced challenges in recruiting staff.
"Bundaberg Fruit and Vegetable Growers will receive a share of funding to investigate ways to get more people into the horticulture sector," Mr Pitt said.
"Being able to test-run these different approaches will hopefully see more Australian job seekers take up seasonal work, which there is plenty of right now."
In addition to the harvest trial, the Federal MP said the Australian Government has been offering assistance to those needing to relocate to regional areas for agriculture work, since November 1.
Relocation assistance will be available for short-term work, Australian citizens and anyone on working-holiday visas, if they have the right to work in Australia and are not receiving income support.
In addition to BFVG, Fruit Growers Victoria Ltd, Northern Territory Farmers Association Inc, Queensland Fruit and Vegetable Growers Ltd (GromCom) and AUSVEG Ltd, will also take part in the trial.