Hort businesses to benefit from new Pacific Labour Scheme
The Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development (DPIRD) is partnering with vegetablesWA on a pilot project designed to provide WA horticultural businesses with seasonal workers.
The program will match semiskilled and skilled workers from Pacific Island labour programs to horticultural businesses, with a focus on engaging Timor-Leste seasonal work visa holders.
The pilot project will run for 12 months, and include up to 12 fruit and vegetable-growing businesses, from Kununurra in the north to Albany in the south.
The project aims to remove some of the barriers to accessing and retaining seasonal visa workers, to ensure WA’s horticultural sector has a secure and reliable workforce.
The Timor-Leste Ambassador to Australia, Abel Guterres, joined Agriculture and Food Minister Alannah MacTiernan and vegetablesWA Chief Executive Officer John Shannon at horticultural businesses in Albany and Manjimup last month to see opportunities the program will provide for Western Australian growers.
WA's horticultural industries are valued at over $1.1 billion, and employ more than 5,600 workers, representing 16 per cent of all employment in the agriculture, forestry and fisheries sector.
In 2018, more than 250 workers from Timor-Leste were employed across WA's horticultural industry, in roles including harvesting, planting, sorting, packing, pruning, and general farm maintenance.
Farmers in the South West who are interested in participating in the project are encouraged to contact vegetablesWA.