International workers who have been working on the Australian mainland picking fruit could be back in Tasmania at the end of this month. Government and growers agreed to work towards boosting the workforce for the upcoming berry harvest.
Seasonal workers from Pacific Island nations have been working on the mainland since the last Tasmanian harvest finished. Then they found they could not return home due to international travel restrictions.
In the midday meeting on Monday, the State Government told Fruit Growers Tasmania chief executive Peter Cornish they would work with them to get workers both from the mainland and overseas.
Abc.net.au quoted Cornish as saying: "We're not trying to circumvent any health requirements. We want to work with the Government. We've got a significant number of people who the growers here are the primary sponsors for, and so they've got obligations under the schemes to these people. They've worked here earlier in the year most of them, and now they are looking to bring them back for this harvest."
Last month the State Government announced a $1.9 million campaign to get unemployed Tasmanians to fill the 8,000 jobs needed by the fruit industry.