JOBS: When and how to get a picking job in Bowen
WITH many in the Whitsunday region facing an uncertain employment future due to the coronavirus crisis, Bowen’s harvesting season looks to be appealing to many jobseekers.
But residents are being told to expect a different kind of season this year, with strict and stringent measures being introduced to help deal with COVID-19.
Julia Wheway, agricultural workforce officer for Bowen Gumlu Growers Association, said although the world was changing every day, the one steady fact was growers would need workers from around mid to late May.
She said growers were currently figuring out their workforce requirements, as new measures may change their employee numbers compared to previous years.
However, she stressed that now more than ever, that jobseekers should not turn up unannounced at farms in Bowen in search of work.
“We wouldn’t usually see any jobs being advertised until about a month from now and we wouldn’t expect to see that change this year either,” she said.
“Normally there isn’t a lot of job advertising in the community but that might change this year, so there’s some coronavirus-related job boards at a local and national level being worked on.
“It’s so important people don’t just turn up to farms though. Farmers are being extremely strict on biosecurity and COVID-19 measures and will have signs everywhere.
“If you want to contact growers, please phone, email or apply online for roles. A grower’s livelihood is in their farm and they’re doing all they can to protect it at the moment.”
Bowen Gumlu Growers Association president Carl Walker said there was ‘work out there’, but this year would be very different from previous years, with growers adapting to the changing situation.
“We definitely need workers, but it’ll be a few months until there’s a lot of jobs going,” he said.
“It’s going to be a very different season this year, growers are taking COVID-19 very seriously and we can’t stress that enough.
“People need to be serious about the jobs. If they’re not taking it seriously, we don’t want them here.”
People interested in picking jobs in Whitsunday region farms are being told to keep an eye on jobsearch.gov.au/harvest as jobs appear in the upcoming months.