Agriculture Minister David Littleproud has praised South Australia’s leadership in exploring and approving quarantine options for seasonal workers.
“When it comes to filling critical worker shortages in agriculture, the Marshall Government is showing the other states and territories how it’s done,” Minister Littleproud said.
“The Australian Government welcomes South Australia’s announcement this week that it’s setting up a speciality regional quarantine facility in time for the lucrative citrus harvest.
“The facility at Paringa will cater specifically for workers arriving under the Commonwealth Seasonal Worker Programme and Pacific Labour Scheme, with new arrivals expected every 14 days over the next three months.
“This comes just days after they agreed to opt in on our National Cabinet-endorsed plan for an in-country quarantine pilot for Pacific workers.
“This pilot will allow nations such as Vanuatu and Fiji, who already run quarantine programs, to pre-screen participants in the Seasonal Worker Programme and Pacific Labour Scheme.
“I commend South Australia for their proactivity and willingness to work constructively with the Australian Government in ensuring our farmers have access to the workforce they need.
“South Australian citrus is worth hundreds of millions to the state’s economy, but labour is scarce due to COVID-19 travel restrictions on international movement.
“Our farmers and regions have been long calling for a common sense and practical solutions to securing workforce supply, but this will require all states and territories coming on board.
“It shows that the states finger pointing is just a front for their failure to act.”
- On 14 March 2021 the South Australian government announced the establishment of a regional quarantine facility at Paringa in the Riverland which will enable the arrival of SWP and PLS workers commencing in April through to mid-June.
- The initiative is expected to involve up to 1200 workers from Pacific countries.
- South Australia has also formally opted into the pre-departure quarantine pilot agreed by National Cabinet on 5 March 2021.
- Since September 2020, more than 2600 Pacific and Timorese workers have arrived under the Pacific labour programs building on the trial recruitment to secure workers to help with the mango harvest in the Northern Territory.