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Labor finally delivers seasonal workers after harvest is done

It is too little too late for the State Labor Government to only now provide little more than a handful of seasonal workers to growers and industry, months after they were needed on Victorian farms.

State Liberal Member for Eildon, Cindy McLeish, says the long overdue arrival of seasonal workers on Victorian farms is too late for many in Victorian horticulture, including vineyards, stone fruit, summer vegetable growers and table grapes.

Ms McLeish said, “Horticulture is the backbone of this region. We have many orchards and vineyards who rely on backpackers to help harvest the seasonal fruit. Local vineyard harvests were completed in February and have completely missed out on labour hire opportunity.

“Harvesting provides backpackers with work, brings tourists to the region and profits farmers in return.

“Failure to provide seasonal workers during peak harvesting time was a huge missed opportunity by the State Labor Government.”

Six months ago, the industry provided a ready-made solution to urgently deliver seasonal workers into a purpose-built quarantine facility at Mildura, which the Andrews Labor Government refused to adopt.

Ms McLeish continues, “A lack of workers left too many farmers forced to plough this season’s hard work into the ground or leave fruit to rot on the trees.

“Labor’s delays have dragged our farmers’ livelihood through the dirt,” Ms McLeish concludes.

The Andrews Labor Government’s botched hotel quarantine that put the entire state into lockdown and cost 801 lives and a continued lack of confidence in its own contact tracing have left our state’s recovery at a snail’s pace and the prospect of international arrivals, including a seasonal workforce, on thin ice.

The arrogant Andrews Labor Government is only interested in headlines and press releases, when it should be working with industry to achieve a good outcome for our farmers and Victoria’s $15.9 billion agriculture sector.


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