Trial a win for workers and growers: MP

A Seasonal Work Incentives trial to address the labour demands of South West growers is a “win-win” for the horticultural industry, according to Forrest MHR Nola Marino.

The two-year trial, which started this month, encourages participants to take up short-term work placements in the horticultural industry, with incentives available until June 30, 2019.

Mrs Marino said the trial offered a range of financial incentives to support unemployed people to take up seasonal work opportunities.

“This is a win-win for local workers and growers in the industry as they often are in need of short-term labour during peak times,” she said. “The trial presents opportunities for both the local horticultural industry and people seeking work.” AHA Viticulture director Colin Bell, who welcomed the trial, said said while the wine industry offered rewarding, full-time positions, the seasonal nature of vineyard work meant significant amounts of employees were required in disconnected periods of time throughout the year.

“The lack of job continuity has always made attracting people to build skills and commit to the industry a challenge,” he said.

Mr Bell noted the second-year backpacker visa had been invaluable in attracting seasonal labour to the region, but said committed and skilled workers were in high demand.

“Backpackers bring enthusiasm, but generally no previous experience,” he said.

“Skilled local workers are in high demand, and the (seasonal work incentives trial) is needed to attract new talent.” The trial will be capped at 3800 participants each financial year and incentives are available to eligible Newstart and Youth Allowance recipients who have received payments for at least three months and are participating in Jobactive, transition to work or disability employment services.

Backpackers bring enthusiasm, but generally no previous experience.

Source: Augusta Margaret River Times.