Labour campaign bears fruit

Campaign to fill labour gap bears fruit

Editorial
Thousands of people have signed up to pick strawberries in Qld, following the sector's decision to hold a 'labour lottery'. Photo: SHUTTERSTOCK

Thousands of people have signed up to pick strawberries in Qld, following the sector's decision to hold a 'labour lottery'. Photo: SHUTTERSTOCK

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I can't help feeling a little disappointed that at a time when so many have found themselves unemployed or underemployed, it takes a big carrot to entice some people to consider working in agriculture.

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I RECENTLY read an article detailing the success of the Qld strawberry sector's efforts to fill labour gaps by running a $100,000 labour lottery.

The initiative has resulted in 4100 people signing up to work on farms since April, including 1500 applications in the past month. Many of these were from within Qld - a big advantage at a time when lockdowns and border closures are an all-too-frequent event.

There are clearly lessons to be learnt from the strawberry sector's success. The campaign managed to capture the public's interest in a way few other initiatives have, and other ag industries facing labour shortages could only dream of having such a response.

But I can't help feeling a little disappointed that at a time when so many have found themselves unemployed or underemployed, it takes a $100,000 carrot to entice some people to consider working in agriculture.

Related reading:Chronic shortage of meat workers fuels cattle price hike

For some, it seems the concept of a fair day's wage for a fair day's work is not enough. Too many people are asking, "What's in it for me?"

I feel similarly about recent calls for the government to provide an incentive for people to receive the COVID-19 vaccine, such as a one-off cash payment or a vaccine lottery.

I'm not saying these options aren't worth considering, as getting our population vaccinated is our best way to stop the endless cycle of lockdowns and uncertainty. But, I think it's a shame that so many people need an added bonus to get the jab.

Getting vaccinated is the best way we can keep ourselves and our loved ones safe - surely that's enough of an incentive.

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