Rich supply of seasonal pickers as demand peaks
PICKERS will be in high demand on the region's farms as they prepare for the seasonal harvest.
The Mackay-Isaac-Whitsunday region was identified one of the key areas for labour hire in the Department of Agriculture and Fisheries's latest economic modelling.
Agricultural Industry Development Minister Mark Furner said the region, specifically around Bowen, had one of the highest demands for agricultural labour in the state.
"Our agricultural sector needs workers, whether they be local or coming interstate, to guarantee a steady supply of fresh produce," Mr Furner said.
But, Mr Furner said growers would have no trouble sourcing workers as industry survey data and advice from labour hire companies confirmed the required workforce was on hand and keen to start.
Growcom, who conducted the survey as Queensland's peak horticulture body, said it highlighted some of the dangers of seasonal workplaces during the pandemic.
"Finding the right people, in the right place and at the right time has always proven problematic for horticulture," CEO David Thomson said.
"Coronavirus has only magnified this challenge.
"As an industry we're obviously primarily concerned with the health and safety of our employees, but we're also very mindful of the wellbeing of the residents of regional towns."
He urged employers and job seekers alike to do their homework and put recruitment and travel plans in place early.
"While there are lots of people seeking harvesting employment, people should not just turn up to farms unannounced," Mr Thomson said.
"They should go through formal hiring networks like Jobs Finder Queensland and HarvestTrail."
Mr Furner said the newly-announced backpacker framework gave growers specific directions on how to manage their incoming workforce and meet health and safety requirements.