New South Wales Agriculture Minister Adam Marshall has warned of food shortages and price rises unless the Australian government eased the cap on arrivals to allow in more workers from the Pacific.
Marshall has pushed for a new national quarantine centre based in a regional location. "We estimate in NSW alone we need 5,000 ag workers from overseas between now the middle of year. Currently under the federal visa program we've only had 2,000 workers come into the whole country. I just worry that unless this is sorted out relatively quickly we are going to have some major problems. Not just in rural areas for producers being able to get their crop off, but major urban centres and capital cities with less than full shelves and what is there costing a hell of a lot more."
According to Marshall, there was a conversation about flying in agriculture workers on direct charter flights to a regional quarantine centre, but the Commonwealth was not interested. "I am pleading with my federal counterparts — this is a national problem and we need national leadership," the minister tolf https://www.abc.net.au. "If there was national facility NSW would be financially willing to contribute to that, or on a pro-rata basis as per the workforce required."