Tuesday, 16 February 2021
Statements by Members
Today I am putting out a plea for Aussies to step in where the Pacific Labour Scheme and Seasonal Worker Program is falling down because states continue to have restrictions on how many people can quarantine and come into this country to pick fruit. I have got fruit pickers and fruit growers in my area who are desperate for workers. I met with OzHarvest the other day. They have a thousand jobs to start on 1 March and they have seven people ready to go. There are 993 jobs for good, healthy Aussie people to fill. We don't need overseas workers. We need Aussies to stand up and fill this gap urgently. We can't have this fruit dying and rotting on the ground like it is going to do and like it did in the last season. It's time for Australians to stand up and fill this void. I have strawberry farmers who have to order runners for next year now, and they don't want to do it. This is a multimillion-dollar industry that is going down the toilet simply because we cannot get Australians to pick fruit. Let's get off our backsides and get out there and have a crack.