Reports the Andrews Labor Government has refused to let seasonal workers quarantine in Victoria shows it still can’t get the basics right.
Victoria’s horticulture sector is desperately seeking thousands of workers to get fruit off the trees, but have reportedly been told by the Andrews Labor Government that they will have to send workers to quarantine in the Northern Territory.
Shadow Minister for Agriculture Peter Walsh said it was out of the question for farmers to shoulder the financial burden, with estimated costs of up to $8000 per worker.
“Daniel Andrews and his Agriculture Minister, Jaclyn Symes, have had nine months to solve this problem but with harvest on our doorstep they’ve failed to find a real solution,” Mr Walsh said.
“The Federal Government is ready and willing to support the States to implement frameworks to get workers into the country and on farm, what’s missing is the Andrews Labor Government’s willingness to fix the problem.
“Our horticulturalists need workers now to ensure the crops are picked – not in a month when the hotel quarantine report is handed down.
“The Andrews Labor Government has no confidence in its own quarantine processes leaving our farmers paying the price as fruit is left to rot, while consumers will feel the pain with higher grocery bills at Christmas.”
The government of Vanuatu has offered to send up to 2000 workers within two weeks to cover dire workforce pressures on Victorian farms.
“Other Australian states already have programs in place that are safely getting workers onto farms – Victoria should be learning from this success,” Mr Walsh said.
“But the Andrews Labor Government is paralysed by its poor processes and failed management of hotel quarantine which led to the second wave.
“There are real solutions to this crisis on the table but our farmers are being crippled by the incompetence of the Andrews Labor Government.”
Peter Walsh MP
Shadow Minister for Agriculture