Our horticulture producers are facing difficulties because they rely on backpacker workers to harvest their crops, and these visa programs are being impacted by the Coronavirus and restrictions on movements.
Reports coming in from the tourism and hospitality industry are that there are going to be a lot of casual workers being laid off.
These people could be deployed to areas like Bowen and the Burdekin where there are farm jobs which desperately need to be filled.
One Bowen farming operation alone needs 1000 workers this harvest.
I have written to the Minister for Employment, Skills, Small and Family Business Michaelia Cash to ask if we can get workers laid off in hospitality and tourism sectors into jobs in agriculture.
There are also thousands of backpackers in the country with visas and the Federal Government is considering options to extend these.
Agriculture Minister David Littleproud has advised that announcements on this front – extending the visas of these backpacker workers and other workers – will be made shortly.