Farmers face devastation without crop-picking support

Written by on September 16, 2020

  • JobSeeker changes needed so fruit pickers are not disadvantaged
  • Glossy ads not enough to help struggling farmers
  • Up to 8000 pickers needed to avoid devastation

Premier, Peter Gutwein, has demonstrated
an alarming disregard for the looming crisis facing Tasmanian fruit and
vegetable farmers.

Shadow Minister for Primary Industries,
Shane Broad MP said up to 8,000 seasonal pickers are needed to avert disaster
for the local industry.

“Tasmania’s farmers face
devastation if they can’t get their produce off the trees and out of the
ground,” Dr Broad said.

“When asked
about this critical issue in Parliament, Mr Gutwein attempted to suggest the
matter was under control.

“That’s not
what we are hearing from farmers.

“The government are funding an advertising
blitz encouraging Tasmanians who have lost work during COVID-19 to take up
fruit and vegetable picking this season, but farmers are telling us that
is not enough,” Dr Broad said.

“The Tasmanian Farmers and Graziers
Association and National Farmers Federation have called for changes to
JobSeeker support to ensure there is no disincentive to unemployed Tasmanians
taking up seasonal jobs.

“This is vital for rapidly growing
sectors like berry and short-turnaround vegetables like broccolini, with
pickers needed now to avoid flow-on effects later in the season. Without urgent
action or adequate numbers of pickers, fruit and vegetables will be left to rot
and growers will go broke.

“The Premier must lobby for changes to
JobSeeker to reduce barriers to seasonal work and give Tasmanians the
confidence to take it on and support our hard-working farmers.

“Making buses available from major
centres to famers would also provide the support needed to get people with
limited transport options to and from this important work.

“This industry is a cornerstone of the Tasmanian economy – we need to do more than pay for glossy ads. We need incentives to get locals back to work and support our local industry.”

Shane Broad MP
Shadow Minister for Primary Industries

The post Farmers face devastation without crop-picking support appeared first on Tasmanian Labor.

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