Goulburn Valley agricultural production is again being hampered by labor shortages; fruit growers are now bracing for their second tough season in trying to attract pickers. With a significant lack of workers for the second year running, fruit growers want to avoid crops going to waste.
SPC people and culture general manager Robert Tanti said applications for seasonal work at the factory were well down on past years. “December through to April is SPC’s busiest period; we receive and process harvested fruits including peaches, apricots, apples, pears and tomatoes from local producers,” Tanti said. “We need an additional 500 casual staff during the period. But, over the last six weeks, we have received only 590 applications, 310 fewer than the same time last year.”
Rural employers in general are having difficulty finding unskilled and professional staff to fill positions. Goulburn Valley fruit growers have gone public to appeal for pickers to bring in the summer harvest and avoid a major labor shortage for the season. In turn, Fruit Growers Victoria is urging Victorians and interstate Australians to get a fruit harvesting job on Victorian farms this summer as part of PickGV.