Thousands of Queensland jobs no one wants

 

Queensland's unemployment rate would drop drastically in key regions if jobless Aussies took up fruit picking jobs, as frustrated farmers issue a desperate plea for them to give it a go.

Farmers are already being forced to plough valuable crop in the ground, after a bumper year, because there is not enough workers to harvest it and are staring in wonder at the high unemployment rates.

There are about 20,000 people on JobSeeker each in Cairns and the Wide Bay region, while data from an EY report commissioned by key agriculture bodies reveals peak season demands can reach as high as 15,000 people in those areas.

In the Darling Downs-Maranoa region there are almost 7000 JobSeeker recipients, while peak fruit picker labour demand can hit as high 10,000 in the region according to the study.

 

 

Social Services Minister Anne Ruston is urging people looking for a job to "try something new", even if farm work is outside their previous experience.

National Farmers' Federation horticulture spokesman Tyson Cattle said the lack of workers was a real issue in Queensland right now, which was now in peak season until at least mid-December.

"We are pleading for people right now. For any one willing and able to jump into the sector," Mr Cattle said.

"It's extremely frustrating for growers. They're really at their wits end.

"They have battle drought, floods fires, all those conditions they can't control, then this year they have a reasonable year.

"It just blows their mind that some guys have had to plough their crop into the ground because they can't get a workforce."

He said there were enough incentives from the Federal Government, like a $6000 relocation allowance and earning up to $300 a fortnight without it impacting payments.

Mr Cattle said the lack of workers would lead to loss of product and hit people's wallets.

"We would expect to see a rise in supermarket shelf prices in the lead up to Christmas if things continue on the current trajectory," he said.

Social Services Minister Anne Ruston is urging Aussies looking for a job to try their hand at farm work. Picture: Andrew Falvo
Social Services Minister Anne Ruston is urging Aussies looking for a job to try their hand at farm work. Picture: Andrew Falvo

Senator Ruston said as the jobs market improves, it was important for people to try to re-engage with the work force, because "event a small amount of work while on payment can have a dramatic impact" on getting off income support.

"While many people may have never considered seasonal work, as a former horticulturalist I can say from experience that working on a farm is very rewarding personally," she said.

"Now is the time for people to look beyond their past experience and to try something new."

 

 

 

 

 

Originally published as Thousands of Queensland jobs no one wants


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