While the Queensland Government is leading the way on sourcing agricultural labour for farmers, the State LNP is in a state of confusion.
Minister for Agricultural Industry Development and Fisheries and Minister for Rural Communities Mark Furner said almost 3000 Pacific workers had entered Queensland to work on farms and related businesses.
“Facilitating the workers that our farmers need is vital to maintaining our status as Australia’s largest vegetable producer and second largest fruit producer.
“What doesn’t help is confusing messages from the State LNP and a lack of support for regional quarantine facilities by the Leader of the Opposition and his mates in the Federal Government,” Mr Furner said.
“Today the Leader of the Opposition complained about a lack of fruit pickers in Mundubbera, but he obviously doesn’t realise how the region’s farmers have already been supported.
“Instead of taking cheap shots over labour for fruit picking in Mundubbera, the Leader of the Opposition should be celebrating the 237 Pacific workers already placed in the North Burnett, providing vital workers for our farmers.
“It is time the LNP stopped the cheap shots and got on to their Federal mates to demand support for Queensland’s regional quarantine facilities like Wellcamp.
“We could be bringing in more returning Queenslanders, and more agricultural workers, if the LNP Leader had the guts to call Scott Morrison to tell him to step up.”
Queensland was the first state or territory to trial on-farm quarantine arrangements for workers from Pacific Island nations with low COVID-19 risk.
“We have already brought in more than 2900 with more on the way,” Mr Furner said.
“Most of these workers have quarantined on-farm so they can work during their quarantine period, while others have used hotel quarantine when capacity is available without taking away capacity for returning Australians.”
Mr Furner said Queensland had played an important role in facilitating Commonwealth programs to bring in Pacific workers by ensuring quarantine facilities were appropriate to keep workers and communities safe from COVID-19.
“It’s clear that the Leader of the Opposition has no clue on how agricultural labour in Queensland operates.”