NSW Farmers’ President James Jackson said any efforts to bolster the harvest workforce were welcome, but more workers would be needed before summer was over.
“We’ve been highlighting the dire need to improve access to harvest workers for weeks now, and this will certainly help, but cherry growers, for example, need workers for five weeks, not one,” Mr Jackson said.
“There is a shortfall of at least 10,000 harvest workers this season, and that’s because of the COVID restrictions we’ve had in place.
“Now that vaccination rates are rapidly rising and we have access to rapid antigen testing, the government needs to vastly improve harvest worker mobility if we are to have any hope of avoiding waste and lost income.
“I’m hopeful the government will also consider measures like the on-farm quarantine pilot we proposed, sooner than later.”