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Citrus Australia welcomes Queensland Government’s decision to extend on-farm quarantine program

Citrus Australia welcomes the Queensland Government’s decision to extend existing quarantine arrangements for workers under the Pacific Labour Scheme and Seasonal Workers Programme.

Citrus Australia CEO Nathan Hancock thanked Queensland Agriculture Minister Mark Furner and the Palaszczuk Government for working with the citrus and wider horticulture industry in addressing a worker shortage for this season’s harvest.

Minister Furner announced that following the successful trial of on-farm quarantine conducted over the past few months, it will continue as the Government’s preferred method of quarantine for workers from low COVID-19 risk Pacific nations.

Hotel quarantine of workers will also continue to be permitted from time to time when there is capacity.

In addition, the Government has announced its support for quarantine of workers at industry-led regional quarantine facilities, subject to the Chief Health Officer’s approval of the arrangements.

Queensland’s Department of Agriculture is continuing to work with agencies involved in the delivery of quarantine arrangement guidelines for industry-led regional quarantine facilities for Chief Health Officer approval.

Mr Hancock has called on other governments to reconsider their options for quarantine outside hotels, as well as reducing quarantine costs to enable more growers to access workers.

“We applaud the Queensland government for thinking outside the square and implore other state governments to focus on avenues outside existing hotel space which is capped. It has been shown that it can be achieved safely for workers and the community.

“Growers are willing to pay their fair share to access workers but costs as high as $3000 as we’re seeing in NSW are unrealistic and frankly unaffordable for a price-taking industry like ours.”

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