New measures will help blueberry industry

The Government has announced a number of new measures to further support employers and seasonal workers to access the Seasonal Worker Programme.

The new measures will be phased in from 1 July 2018 and include introducing a multi-entry visa for seasonal workers, thereby offering greater flexibility in the granting of visas, and piloting new ways to lower upfront costs for employers seeking to access the programme.

Nationals Member for Cowper, Luke Hartsuyker, has welcomed the new measures.

“During the peak blueberry picking season on the Mid North Coast, the industry is heavily dependent on the availability of seasonal workers and any measure that increases the availability of workers on the ground is a positive one.

“The measures will be a welcome support for local businesses who are struggling to fill vacancies at the critical points in their business cycle,” Mr Hartsuyker said.

The Seasonal Worker Programme assists Australian employers to meet their demand for seasonal labour when they are unable to source local labour.

Minister for Employment, Senator the Hon Michaelia Cash, said the measures would increase both the flexibility and support within the Seasonal Worker Programme.

“By improving support for businesses in the Seasonal Worker Programme employers in the agricultural and accommodation sectors can overcome local labour shortages,” Minister Cash said.

“Where there are no local workers available, these changes to the programme will assist employers seeking access to a seasonal workforce,” Mr Hartsuyker said.

“Improvements to the Seasonal Workers Programme will be especially appealing to potential employers as they reduce red tape and save them time.

“The Government wants to ensure businesses across the country have access to the seasonal workers they need, while at the same time ensuring that Australians looking for work have first access to all opportunities,” Mr Hartsuyker said.

Seasonal workers brought into Australia by employers are subject to the same workplace relations and work health and safety safeguards as Australian workers.

For more information about the Seasonal Worker Programme, please visit: www.employment.gov.au/seasonal-worker-programme.

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