2021 Media releases

Expected arrival of harvest workers from Vanuatu

Fruit Growers Tasmania | Wednesday, 6 January 2021, 10.25am

Fruit Growers Tasmania has welcomed the imminent arrival of harvest workers from Vanuatu, as well as the end of quarantine for previous arrivals from Tonga.

Coming to Australia as part of the Federal Government’s Seasonal Worker Programme and Pacific Labour Scheme, these new arrivals are a welcome addition to Tasmania’s harvest workforce, which is now approaching its peak demand period.

Speaking on the expected arrival, Fruit Growers Tasmania President Scott Price said that the arrival of this core group of experienced workers into Tasmania would make a huge difference to the growers and businesses that have organised for them to come to Tasmania.

“Fruit picking is not an unskilled job, and the productivity and income difference between experienced and inexperienced workers can be significant.

“Having a core group of experienced workers on site that newer Tasmanian workers can learn from can really improve the experience and outcomes for everyone.”

Seasonal workers arriving in Tasmania from the Pacific are subject to strict health checks prior to departure, and are required to undergo 14 days isolation in a Government run quarantine facility before being released into the Tasmanian community. During this quarantine period, workers are tested for COVID-19 throughout this period to make sure they do not pose a health risk to the Tasmanian population.

Fruit Growers Tasmania CEO Peter Cornish says there is still plenty of work available for Tasmanians despite the recent arrivals of more harvest workers from the Pacific.

“The practical reality is we need more than 8,000 seasonal workers in this state during the peak summer period just to make sure the fruit is able to be picked, packed and sent to market.

“160 workers may sound like a lot of people, but it is a small part of the larger workforce needed to bring in Tasmania’s summer fruit harvest. January and February are always a very busy time for us, where we have cherries and summerfruit to harvest, berries in full swing, and thinning work being done for apples, pears and other autumn fruits.

“We’re hearing from a number of growers that they’ve had increased interest from Tasmanians to help work the summer harvest and get autumn crops ready.

“As an industry we are really appreciative of all the Tasmanians to date who have stepped forward and shown commitment to helping us bring in the summer harvest.”

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