Under this arrangement, the WA Government will allow WA growers access to Seasonal Worker Programme and Pacific Labour Scheme workers — subject to strict conditions to protect the health and safety of the WA community.
The new measures will initially focus on recruiting Seasonal Worker Programme and Pacific Labour Scheme workers who have already undertaken 14 days’ quarantine in the Howard Springs facility in the Northern Territory.
The WA Government is also in discussions with the Northern Territory and Federal Governments on bringing new Seasonal Worker Programme and Pacific Labour Scheme workers into the country and using quarantine facilities in the Northern Territory before allowing them to enter Western Australia.
Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, Western Australian growers employed around 1000 Seasonal Worker Programme workers — with the majority of remaining harvest jobs filled by Working Holiday Makers (backpackers).
The WA Government will also allow for greater movement of critical agricultural workers from interstate, subject to the usual isolation and quarantine requirements.
The Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development will place a five-person team within the WA Police Force to help manage the new system.
Last month, the ‘Work and Wander Out Yonder’ campaign was launched along with a related worker incentives scheme that encourages Western Australians to help fill labour gaps across regional WA.
The ‘Work and Wander Out Yonder’ campaign will continue to roll out and will ramp up activities in November to encourage university students and school leavers into the industry ahead of summer holidays.
For more information see the Supporting agricultural industries to secure workers media statement.