Queensland backpackers students could be given uni fee discounts for fruit picking work

Share It NOW

The Queensland government is considering giving students discounts on their university debt if they pick fruit and vegetables in the state’s regional communities.

“Incentivising them to go out in their anniversary holidays or those who might go on a gap year,” Agriculture Minister David Littleproud told 9News.

About 180,000 backpackers are normally in Australia on working holiday visas but that number has dropped to just 70,000.

“We continue to lose backpackers back overseas, a significant part of our labour pool,” Richard Shannon from GrowCom told 9News.

The proposed plan is to fill a shortage of international backpackers due to coronavirus.
The proposed plan is to fill a shortage of international backpackers due to coronavirus. (Nine)

“We need to replace them with Queenslanders.”

Some farms in the Lockyer Valley region employ up to 200 people to work over 280 hectares of land, yet with the onset of the global pandemic workers are scarce.

“Not any backpackers coming in. The guys that are here are already leaving or going to a different area,” Brock Sutton of Sutton Farms told 9News.

“We’re finding that we’re having to increase our wages to get people in or keep the people that we’ve got.”

Sources have told 9News figures yet to be released by the state government show Queensland’s normally 25,000 pickers could drop by up to 7000 people over the next 12 months.

If the government does come up with a solution soon, Mr Shannon believes there will be an upwards pressure on the price of groceries.

Get link

xoonews.com


Share It NOW