- $3 million accommodation and travel support scheme to entice seasonal agricultural workers to regional Western Australia
- Up to $3,360 available in accommodation rebates for workers that move to the regions for agricultural work
- New support scheme forms part of the 'Work and Wander out Yonder' campaign
- McGowan Government calls on the Federal Government to provide support
The McGowan Government will invest $3 million to help attract Western Australians to seasonal agricultural jobs across the regions.
The Primary Industries Workers Regional Travel and Accommodation Support Scheme will assist agriculture, fisheries and food processing businesses in regional areas experiencing labour shortages as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Under the scheme, eligible workers who move to the regions will be able to claim up to $40 a night in accommodation rebates for up to 12 weeks - up to a maximum total rebate of $3,360.
A travel allowance will also be made available to those relocating more than 100 kilometres from their usual place of residence.
Workers will be able to claim $150 for travel to the Peel, South-West, Great Southern, Wheatbelt, Mid-West or Goldfields-Esperance regions, $350 for travel to the Gascoyne or Pilbara, and $500 for travel to the Kimberley for agricultural work.
The State Government is continuing to advocate for the Commonwealth to do more to support the sector and incentivise the uptake of horticulture and agriculture opportunities.
The scheme follows the launch of the 'Work and Wander out Yonder' campaign - promoting local jobs in agriculture, tourism and hospitality throughout regional WA.
The State Government has partnered with recruitment services Seek and Studium to match employers and job seekers through the campaign website.
The rebate scheme will take effect from September 21, 2020 with more information on how to submit a claim available at http://www.dpird.wa.gov.au/regional-workers-scheme
Comments attributed to Premier Mark McGowan:
"The agriculture, food and fisheries sectors play a vital role in our State's economy, food security and regional communities.
"COVID-19 travel restrictions have seen backpacker numbers in WA drop to less than half the usual number, leading to labour challenges across a range of occupations but also creating a unique opportunity for young people in WA.
"We are calling on young West Aussies to take this opportunity to get the 'backpacker holiday experience' at home - broadening horizons, getting to know your regions and all they have to offer.
"I've also requested the Federal Government to adjust their policy settings, to ensure Western Australians who take up seasonal work in regional WA are not penalised financially."
Comments attributed to Regional Development and Agriculture and Food Minister Alannah MacTiernan:
"In a typical year, an additional 7,000 seasonal jobs are required over spring and summer in agriculture alone for harvesting, packing and processing work.
"We know it is a challenge to attract local people to these roles, so we are providing a financial incentive for a new cohort who will want to give it a try - and potentially have the adventure of a lifetime.
"It would be great if the Federal Government could come on board and offer some flexibility around JobSeeker or other incentives for local workers."
Premier's office - 6552 5000
Regional Development and Agriculture and Food Minister's office - 6552 6200