Priscilla, working holiday maker and queen of the strawberries

Labour

Tasmania's fruit producers rely on seasonal workers for seasonal tasks including picking, sorting, packing and pruning. The number of roles available varies seasonally, growing from 300 roles in winter months to almost 8000 in January.

COVID-19 has caused disruption to the entry and movement of Australia's seasonal agricultural workforce. Our work in this area seeks to help Tasmanian fruit growers to build resilience, grow the available workforce and monitor industry recovery. This includes:

  • increasing community awareness of the opportunities available in Tasmania's fruit industries 
  • working with businesses to understand and adjust to changing COVID-19 regulations
  • working with industry stakeholders and government to support the safe movement of essential workers to Tasmania
  • attracting and recruiting new workers to the industry
  • helping businesses to look after and support the productivity of available workers
  • monitoring and informing businesses on the changing nature of the seasonal labour situation

COVID-19 resources for businesses

The following resources will be useful for fruit growers.

All businesses operating in Tasmania are legally required to have the following business continuity plans.

  • COVID-19 Safety Plan
  • COVID-19 Outbreak Management Plan

Previously WorkSafe Tasmania visited over 5000 businesses across the State for the purpose of assessing compliance in managing the risk of COVID within the workplace. Expect a potential visit from the WorkSafe Tasmania COVID Unit.

FGT has developed a template that will be useful in creating or updating your business continuity plans:  

It is based on a WorkSafe Tasmania 'Small Business' template and has been re-formatted for easier printing once populated.  Example notes were added based on workshops held recently in conjunction with Safe Farming Tasmania.  Please ensure you develop a plan for your own business.

Priority Settings

Some settings need more planning than others.  The following settings have been identified as ‘priority settings’ for the purposes of COVID-19 outbreak management planning:

  • Food distribution and / or warehouse facilities with cold and / or frozen storage and those with more than 50 site workers.
  • Agricultural farms with seasonal workers from interstate / overseas.

If you are responsible for a COVID-19 priority setting (places where COVID-19 may spread quickly or management of outbreaks may be complex) it is vital that you develop an enhanced outbreak management plan for your setting, building on the information in your Worksafe COVID-19 Safety Plan.  A single case in a COVID-19 priority setting is likely to be considered an outbreak.

Use this example to help prepare your business:

The Department of Health provides the following additional guidance for businesses categorised as priority settings.

The following exposure risk matrices may be useful in determining how measures implemented in your COVID-19 Safety Plan could influence business continuity during an exposure event.

For the most up-to-date COVID-19 guidance and information visit the Tasmanian Government COVID-19 website.