| September 08, 2017

NEW MEASURES TO SUPPORT PARTICIPATION IN THE SEASONAL WORKER PROGRAM

The Turnbull-Joyce Government has announced a number of new measures to increase support for employers and seasonal workers to access the Seasonal Worker Program.

The new measures will be phased in from 1 July 2018 and include introducing a multi-entry visa for seasonal workers, which offers greater flexibility in the granting of visas, and piloting new ways to lower upfront costs for employers seeking to access the program.

The Seasonal Worker Program assists Australian employers to meet their demand for seasonal labour when they are unable to source local labour. Workers from countries in Pacific Islands are able to access seasonal visas to work in Australia where the local workforce cannot provide enough employees.

Federal Member for Murray the Hon Damian Drum said these measures will make it easier for businesses in local industries to employ people each season.

“These new measures will be a welcome support for local businesses who are struggling to fill vacancies at critical points in their business cycle,” Mr Drum said

It is still the priority of the Federal Government for businesses to employ workers from local areas; however, some industries such as the agriculture sector struggle to find local labour to satisfy their workforce needs from season to season.

“I often get employers coming in to my office to talk about the lack of local labour, especially during fruit picking season. By improving support for businesses in the Seasonal Worker Program, employers in the agricultural sector can overcome local labour shortages.

“Where there are no local workers available, these changes to the program will make it easier for employers to access a reliable seasonal workforce,” Mr Drum said.

“The Government wants to ensure businesses across the country, especially those in Murray with large amounts of seasonal work, to have access to the seasonal workers they need, while at the same time ensuring that Australians looking for work have first access to all opportunities,” Mr Drum said.

Seasonal workers brought into Australia by employers are subject to the same workplace relations and work health and safety safeguards as Australian workers. For more information about the Seasonal Worker Programme, please visit: www.employment.gov.au/seasonal-worker-programme

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