In an attempt to remedy the state's labor shortage, the New South Wales government will subsidize half the hotel quarantine cost of agricultural workers. There is a strong need for the latter, as Australia's crop losses are exceeding $52 million since December.
Australian farmers, mainly from the horticulture sector, have had to leave their produce to rot due to the lack of backpackers in the country, that usually supports the seasonal workforce.
NSW Agriculture Minister Adam Marshall: "The agricultural sector will be the only sector that receives a subsidy for 50 per cent of that quarantine cost. That recognises the fact that these industries are crucial not just to our economy but meeting the food task of Australia and the world. It is an issue which industry has grappled with every year for decades now, but it's particularly been highlighted by COVID-19 and the sheer difficulties of getting overseas workers in."
According to abc.net.au¸ the NSW Agriculture Minister hopes the subsidy offers an incentive to more farmers and businesses to charter workers in.