Hotel quarantine costs will be HALVED for thousands of foreign workers flown in to work on farms with Australia’s borders closed to backpackers
- NSW Government is subsidising half of the quarantine costs to boost agriculture
- It comes due to a shortage of overseas workers due to international travel bans
- Subsidy will reduce the cost of mandatory quarantine from $3,000 to $,1500
Foreign agricultural workers will have their quarantine costs halved when they are flown into Australia to help out shorthanded farmers.
Fruit picking and farm labourers are in short supply since Australia shut its borders a year ago during the coronavirus pandemic.
Without a steady supply of backpackers willing to work in rural areas to earn their second-year visas, produce is rotting on the vine.
The NSW Government announced the incentive on Wednesday in the hope of enticing more workers from the mostly Covid-free Pacific Islands.
The Government subsidy will reduce the quarantine costs from $3000 to $1500
The workers will be eligible for the 50 per cent subsidy under the Pacific Labour Scheme and the Seasonal Worker Program.
Agriculture Minister Adam Marshall said the main problem the agricultural workers faced was the quarantine costs facing their workers.
‘We know that our primary producers rely on seasonal and foreign workers, but we have heard loud and clear that the cost of mandatory quarantine is a significant barrier for farming businesses wanting to employ overseas workers,’ he said.
‘As a result of today’s announcement, we expect to see an increase in applications through the Pacific Labour Scheme and or Seasonal Worker Program as the proposition for farmers becomes a lot more viable.’
Australia has been importing people from East Timor to help as agricultural workers, their quarantine fees will now be halved
The NSW Treasurer Dominic Perrottet said the subsidy would reduce the cost of mandatory quarantine from $3,000 per person to $1,500 per person while acknowledging the importance of the agricultural industry.
‘Covid-19 has thrown up all sorts of challenges, and this will help our vital agricultural sector which is worth almost $16 billion to the NSW economy each year,’ he said.
Mr Marshall said the hotel quarantine cost cut would make bringing in workers more commercially viable for producers.
All seasonal workers approved to quarantine in NSW during the 2020-21 financial year will be eligible for the subsidy, provided the majority of their work is in NSW.
Mandatory hotel quarantine is still a requirement for all international travellers in accordance with public health orders.
There has been a shortage of international agricultural workers due to the international travel bans from COVID-19