South Australia to fly in workers to fill fruit-picking jobs

Source: Xinhua| 2021-01-14 11:10:39|Editor: huaxia

CANBERRA, Jan. 14 (Xinhua) -- The state government of South Australia (SA) has announced that it will fly workers from Pacific islands into the state to fill seasonal labor shortages.

The 100 workers from Vanuatu will take on fruit-picking jobs in SA after spending two weeks in quarantine on arrival late in January.

They will be the seasonal workers to arrive in the state since Australia's borders were closed early in 2020 in a move that wiped out the agriculture industry's normal labor pool of backpackers.

According to recent figures from the National Lost Crop Register, farmers have lost more than 38 million Australian dollars (29.4 million U.S. dollars) of crops due to labor shortages.

Mark Doecke, chairman of Citrus SA, welcomed the flights ahead of the citrus harvest in April, saying that Australians were "largely uninterested" in regional jobs.

"Virtually our only hope is planeloads of people coming from other countries to work, because backpackers don't exist any more," he said, according to News Corp Australia on Thursday.

The federal government has failed to push thousands of Australians who became unemployed during the pandemic to take up jobs in the regions. Enditem