Farmers in Queensland's Lockyer Valley are having to let go of their workers in the wake of another severe flood, which coincided with the beginning of the horticulture production period. That is why industry groups are calling for a disaster assistance program, similar to JobKeeper.
As Queensland farmers reel from their second flood in 11 weeks, many Lockyer Valley growers are facing the prospect of ploughing their ruined produce into the ground. This prospect is worsened by the fact these growers can't afford to keep the staff they had on ready to pick it.
Growcom Chair Belinda Adams said letting go of staff was a Catch-22 for many farmers, who could not afford to keep labor but could not afford to lose it, either. "The cost to growers is not only emotional but also significantly financial. To find skilled people in the labor shortages we have at the moment is incredibly difficult within itself," Ms Adams said. "To look at bringing in new staff again and train them up, you're looking at that taking a period of a couple of months when the planting program is only taking four to six weeks."