FEDERAL Member for New England, Barnaby Joyce said Australian agricultural employers and industries will benefit from changes announced to the Seasonal Worker Programme today.
The Government announced the expansion of the Programme from primarily horticulture to the broader agricultural sector, increasing the types of low and unskilled jobs included under the Programme.
“The Seasonal Worker Programme has been highly effective in helping Australian businesses overcome seasonal labour shortages,” Mr Joyce.
“Employers in a range of agriculture industries including cattle, sheep, grain and mixed enterprises will now be able to apply to be part of the Seasonal Worker Programme.
“Farming businesses in particular will benefit in regional areas where labour can be in short supply during peak periods.
“This is good news for many Australian businesses as well as good news for our Pacific neighbours and Timor Leste which benefit through employment experience and the pay packets that help the families of the workers and their communities back home.”
Mr Joyce said employers must fully test the local job market before they can apply to recruit workers under the Programme.
“While we are determined to ensure businesses across Australia have access to the seasonal workers they need, we are equally determined that no Australian misses out on a job,” he said.
The Seasonal Worker Programme assists Australian employers unable to find enough local Australian workers to meet seasonal labour needs and contributes to the economic development of Pacific Island countries and Timor-Leste.
Workers brought in by employers are subject to the same workplace relations and work health and safety safeguards as Australian job seekers.
Since 1 July 2012, over 8600 visas have been issued to people under the Programme to support the seasonal labour needs of around 70 approved employers.
To apply to recruit seasonal workers visit: www.employment.gov.au/information-employers-how-recruit-seasonal-workers
For more information about the Seasonal Worker Programme visit: www.employment.gov.au/seasonal-worker-programme.