The Australian Government announced today (4 August 2020) a targeted trial in Northern Territory aimed at addressing the labour shortages affecting NT mango farmers.
The Australian and Northern Territory Governments have agreed to arrangements for a targeted trial to help meet the labour needs of Northern Territory mango growers. The governments have also agreed to test arrangements for entry and management of workers, in a controlled way. The Northern Territory’s growers in outer regional and remote areas, rely on temporary visa holders, many of whom arrive and depart Australia on a seasonal basis.
This trial will see controlled Seasonal Worker Programme’s recruitments allowing up to 170 workers from Vanuatu to enter Australia to help with the 2020 mango season. The industry, in consultation with Northern Territory Government, has nominated participating Approved Employers and growers.
Stringent conditions will be in place to ensure the health and safety of Australians and Northern Territorians – including 14-days mandatory quarantine at Manigurr-ma Village Quarantine Facility, Howard Springs. The Australian Health Protection Principal Committee reviewed the trial arrangements and quarantine procedures and considered they were appropriate to ensure COVID-19 related risks to the NT and Australian community and overseas workers are acceptably low. The NT Chief Health Officer has approved the pathway for the entry of workers.
To ensure Australians have the opportunity to be recruited first, Approved Employers will need to undertake stringent labour market testing.
Workers will be working under COVID-19 Management Plans, approved by the Northern Territory Government, that include contingency plans in the event of a worker testing positive to COVID-19. Flights and costs of quarantine are being funded by the NT Government and the industry