Rural workers required to fill seasonal jobs

Rural workers required to fill seasonal jobs

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HELP WANTED: There are hundred of harvest seasonal jobs advertised on the website, across a number of grain handlers. Photo: SHUTTERSTOCK

HELP WANTED: There are hundred of harvest seasonal jobs advertised on the website, across a number of grain handlers. Photo: SHUTTERSTOCK

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A JOB site launched in May to help rural industries keep operating without an international workforce has more than to 1800 jobs advertised across a range of industries.

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A JOB site launched in May to help rural industries keep operating without an international workforce has more than to 1800 jobs advertised across a range of industries.

The Seasonal Jobs website was originally launched to encourage unemployed South Australians to get involved in seasonal work in agriculture, such as fruit picking or grape harvesting, which are often supported by the use of international and interstate seasonal workers.

Since then, more than 80,000 people have visited the site, with an average of more than 1300 visitors each day.

In May, Primary Industries Minister Tim Whetstone said about 24,000 workers would be needed to fill crucial agricultural jobs.

Vacancies have been advertised for harvest casuals, station hands, livestock workers, meat processors and in the horticulture and viticulture sectors.

"The COVID-19 pandemic has had an impact across many industries and this a call to arms to fill jobs in agriculture to help our farmers put their quality produce on tables around Australia," Mr Whetstone said.

"The campaign's tagline is 'if you need jobs, we need you' and we are encouraging South Australians who might be looking for work to give these seasonal jobs a go.

"Whether it is grain-harvesting, fruit-picking, grape-harvesting, vine-pruning, tree-planting or vegetable-packing you'll be playing an important role in putting food on the tables for South Australian families."

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Ausveg SA chief executive officer Jordan Brooke-Barnett said many of the backpackers and sponsored migrants used in the horticulture industry were already heading home, with no one coming to replace them, and the problem could potentially worsen as borders reopen and movement is allowed again.

"We've got an existing core of workers but we don't know what will happen in three or four months," he said.

He said while many workers in northern Adelaide were Australians or permanent residents, there was more reliance on international workers further out into the regions.

"We expect it to be quite a tight labour market in the coming months," he said.

Viterra human resources manager Alyson Gilbey said the company usually expected to recruit about 1500 harvest workers each year, but this year had 1800 jobs open to meet the better seasonal outlook.

"Backpackers and travellers have made up part of our seasonal workforce during previous harvests and we expect the availability of these people will be far less this year," she said.

"We are confident we will be able to meet the number of workers needed and we will continue to monitor the situation. We've received nearly 500 applications since applications opened on Monday, which is a great start."

The Seasonal Jobs website also includes a toolkit to help employers and employees understand their coronavirus requirements and keep regional communities safe.

  • Details: seasonaljobs.sa.gov.au

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