State govt commits $4.45m to boosting seasonal workforce

State govt commits $4.45m to boosting seasonal workforce

Horticulture
Photo: SHUTTERSTOCK

Photo: SHUTTERSTOCK

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Seasonal workforce numbers in SA are set to be boosted thanks to $4.45 million in state government funding, aiming to create a multi-pronged approach to fill vacancies and boost employment in key areas in rural and regional parts of the state.

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Seasonal workforce numbers in SA are set to be boosted thanks to $4.45 million in state government funding, aiming to create a multi-pronged approach to fill vacancies and boost employment in key areas in rural and regional parts of the state.

The Regional Jobs and Incentive Program will include incentives of up to $2000 for students moving to regions to take up regional jobs, while additional support will also be available for businesses bringing workers into the state as part of the Seasonal Worker Programme and Pacific Labour Scheme.

Primary Industries Minister David Basham said the funding boost was timed well, coinciding with SA's busy picking period.

"With SA's peak picking season starting this month, and requiring almost 9,000 seasonal workers by January, we need to urgently mobilise a seasonal and regional workforce," Mr Basham said.

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"Our agricultural sector has already shown much resilience during 2020, but now we need to provide them with additional support to make sure workers are available to help harvest crops and put food on Australian family tables especially in the lead up to Christmas."

The additional funding follows on from the Seasonal Jobs SA website, which, since its launch in May, has advertised more than 3500 jobs and had more than 100,000 page views.

Skills and Innovation Minister David Pisoni said the funding would be beneficial to mulitple sectors in regional areas.

Our support package will help the attraction, retention and development of our regional workforce. - DAVID PISONI

"In addition to agriculture, we recognise there are shortfalls in employees in the tourism and hospitality sectors, with all of these areas significant contributors to the SA economy," Mr Pisoni said.

"Our $4.45 million support package will help to address workforce issues right across regional South Australia and link those seeking work with positions available.

"Work on the land has not stopped as a result of COVID-19, rather this pandemic has just created additional challenges for those in the regions.

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"Traditionally this workforce comes from a range of sources including from domestic workers both intrastate and interstate on working holidays, and international workers on visas including Pacific Labour Scheme/Seasonal Worker Programme and Working Holiday Makers.

"With the closure of state and international borders and introduction of Commonwealth job retention programs, such as JobKeeper and JobSeeker, the pool of available workers to undertake seasonal agricultural work and regional jobs has diminished.

"Our support package will help the attraction, retention and development of our regional workforce."

For more information on the funding, click here.

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