One of Australia's largest blueberry growers is offering $50,000 to attract the workers needed to harvest this year’s crop. Mountain Blue Farms needs between 600 to 700 workers during the peak of its season — September to November — on its two farms at Tabulam in northern New South Wales to pick an estimated 1,200 tonnes of fruit.
Managing director Andrew Bell: "The number of visa holders in Australia, given the border restrictions, has come right down, so we're starting to feel the pressure in terms of onboarding harvest labour this year.”
But getting workers to move to the remote rural village, located between Casino and Tenterfield, an estimated two-hour drive from Byron Bay, has proven challenging. So the family-owned company has decided it is time to repeat the $50,000 incentive program it offered in 2017 to attract workers.
According to an article on abc.net.au, the prize pool of $50,000 will be handed out to workers with draws of $10,000 and $5,000, and then 35 prizes of $1,000 each.
"Pickers, during the season, will be able to earn tickets in a draw through things like their attendance, productivity, and health and safety record, and at the end of the season we'll do the draw," Bell said.