For the first time in months, there's an atmosphere of optimism at Hillwood Berries. The state government's announcement that seasonal workers would be allowed in to Tasmania for the harvest season has come as welcome news to farm manager Simon Dornauf.
"To be honest, it was even better news than we were expecting," he said. “Our business predominantly uses the Australian government's Seasonal Worker Programme, so they're the guys we recruit out of the Pacific Islands and East Timor. That's how we're able to have people coming back on for each season. If they hadn't have been able to come, we'd have been really depending on whatever people there were in Australia to pick fruit. Everybody would have been starting from scratch for the season. [There would have been] a lot of work in training and the like."
Hillwood Berries' season generally begins in early November and ends in early June. The business has so far received about 120 job applications from Tasmanians and people interstate.
Theadvocate.com.au reports that from next week, seasonal workers from non-hotspot locations will be able to enter the state but will have to remain in their primary place of residence for 14 days unless going to work, seeking medical attention or purchasing essential supplies.