More than 4,500 New South Wales public servants are being offered five days' leave in an attempt to ease a worker shortage in the lead up to a forecast bumper grains harvest. Deputy Premier Paul Toole said more than three-quarters of staff in the Department of Regional NSW - which includes Local Land Services and the Department of Primary Industries - had expressed interest in the harvest leave, which could be taken in conjunction with annual or long-service leave.
"These workers can volunteer to help out with any harvest anywhere in the state," he said. "From harvesting blueberries in Coffs Harbour, oranges and table grapes in the Riverina and Murray, to cherries in the Central West or helping bring in a bumper grain harvest."
Peak agriculture bodies have long been calling for help in addressing a workforce shortage, which has intensified since the pandemic forced border closures.