Single point for pickers

BUNDABERG will have a "one-stop shop" for fruit picking if an idea from Bundaberg Fruit and Vegetable Growers comes to fruition.

The grower organisation is studying the feasibility of creating a register or database of all picking workers, their skills and when they are in the region.

The growers group's executive officer Peter Hockings said the register would still allow farmers to work with their preferred labour hire companies.

"If a farmer wants five workers the next day and they called their labour hire company and they could only provide three, the labour hire company can check the register," he said.

"The next day you will have two people employed who probably would not have been."

Mr Hockings said they hoped the register would reduce the number of phone calls workers and employers had to make.

"We get people calling here looking for work because they think we are an employer," he said.

"I know the tourist information centre also gets a lot of calls looking for work."

Mr Hockings said any prospective picker or farm worker would be able to place their details on the register along with the details of their skills and when they would be able to start work.

He said it was also hoped the register would be able to determine what time of year more workers were needed in Bundaberg.

"It's about encouraging workers to continue to come to Bundaberg," he said.

It is also hoped the register would help improve the region's reputation among itinerant workers, who are often turned away because they arrive looking for work at the wrong time of year.

Mr Hockings said BFVG was searching for grants to start up a pilot of the program.

"That way we could really get a feel of how it would best operate," he said.

He said the database would also look at working with hostels in the region to show bed availability.



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