The Morrison Government has today announced a change to its measures aimed at getting workers into jobs on Australian farms.
Following consultation with the agricultural industry the Government is delivering a new more flexible approach to its Relocation Assistance to Take Up a Job program for short term agricultural work. Assistance to support individuals take up short-term agricultural work will be delivered through a support to be called ‘AgMove’. The new approach will accommodate short, but intense, harvesting seasons and provide the right incentives to get job seekers to give agricultural work a go with a helping hand from the Government.
Under AgMove, the Commonwealth Government is introducing more flexible incentives which will see Australians eligible for up to $2,000 in relocation assistance (or $650 for temporary visa holders) when they complete just 40 hours of agricultural work over a two-week period. This reduces the existing initial eligibility period for reimbursement from six weeks to just two.
If workers continue in agricultural work and complete 120 hours across a period of at least four weeks, they will hit the second eligibility point where they will be able to access reimbursement of up to $6,000 for Australian workers and up to $2,000 for temporary visa holders.
Minister for Employment, Workforce, Skills, Small and Family Business, Stuart Robert MP, said AgMove demonstrated the Government was listening to industry and would continue to deliver support to help address workforce shortages on Australian farms.
‘This will help to address the continued high demand for harvest workers across Australia by encouraging much-needed workers to stay on the job for longer,’ Minister Robert said.
‘AgMove meets industry needs by making agricultural work more attractive and accessible to workers who can relocate to help farmers during busy periods,’ he said.
‘Whether you’re a student on university break, on a working holiday or an experienced long-time worker, the Australian Government is providing you the flexibility needed to give agricultural jobs a go.’
The Minister for Agriculture, Drought and Emergency Management David Littleproud said securing a workforce for our agricultural industry has been a top priority of the Federal Government.
‘Our farmers have put their shoulder to the wheel during COVID and produced bumper crops, prime livestock and the best fibre in the world,’ Minister Littleproud said.
‘I could not be prouder of their determination and resilience.
‘AgMove will help get more of the available labour force to more parts of Australia making sure agriculture continues to be the cornerstone of our economic recovery.’
AgMove – up to $2,000
John is retired and lives in Sydney. He hears that Australian farmers need more people to harvest their crops and decides to check if he can do some harvest work. He checks job ads on the www.harvesttrail.gov.au website. John contacts the Harvest Trail Services (HTS) provider listed on one of the ads, who advises that he can refer John to a job at the apple farm in Southern Queensland to work on the upcoming winter harvest. John is eligible to receive relocation assistance under AgMove because he will be relocating more than 90 minutes away from his residential address in Sydney.
John enters into an AgMove Agreement with the HTS provider, drives north, checks into a local caravan park and starts working at the apple farm.
John works 30 hours a week for 2 weeks, which makes him eligible to be reimbursed for up to $2,000 in relocation costs.
The HTS provider reimburses John:
- $400 for petrol costs for his trip from Sydney, and appropriate work clothes;
- $840 for two weeks of accommodation at the local caravan park.
At this first eligibility point John has been reimbursed $1,240 of $2,000.
AgMove – up to $6,000
John’s work at the apple farm is extended to the end of June.
He continues to work 30 hours a week and completes 120 hours of work within four weeks, he has reached the second eligibility point
The HTS provider reimburses an additional:
- $2,320 for John’s accommodation at the caravan park to the end of his work assignment.
The total AgMove reimbursement John has received at this point is $3,560.
After John finishes work at the apple farm in June, the HTS provider offers him a job further north at the berry farm.
The HTS provider:
- reimburses John $260 for his travel costs to the berry farm and overnight transit accommodation; and
- pays $480 for two weeks of on-farm accommodation
Note: up to two months of accommodation costs can be reimbursed under AgMove.
In total John received $4,300 out of the $6,000 maximum available under AgMove to assist with his temporary relocation costs.
AgMove is a component of the Relocation Assistance to Take Up a Job program and was formerly known as Relocation Assistance to Take Up a Job for short-term Agricultural Work, which has been available since 1 November 2020 to help people relocate to regional areas to take up short-term harvest and agricultural work.
AgMove will be administered by Harvest Trail Services and Harvest Trail Information Service providers. Harvest Trail Services providers connect farmers with people looking for seasonal harvest work across Australia and manage AgMove in their respective harvest areas. More than 14,000 harvest jobs have also been filled by Harvest Trail Services providers since July 2020. We look forward to adding many more through easier access to these payments.
The Harvest Trail Information Service is providing information regarding harvest related work opportunities across Australia and will deliver AgMove for relocation to non-harvest jobs in agriculture and for harvest jobs outside the sixteen Harvest Areas.