Capricornia Farms to Benefit from Working VISA Extension

Capricornia farm businesses and communities stand to benefit from an announcement made by the Australian Government to extend working holiday maker and other visas amid the COVID-19 crisis with requirements to support the on-going health of regional communities.

Minister for Agriculture, Drought and Emergency Management David Littleproud, and Member for Capricornia Michelle Landry said the visa changes will allow Pacific seasonal workers, working holiday makers and a range of other visa holders who are unable to depart Australia including in Capricornia, to continue to work until this health crisis has passed or they are able to return to their home countries.

“Agriculture is an essential sector and it relies on temporary visa holders, many of whom arrive and depart Australia on a seasonal basis. These visa holders fill a critical workforce gap in this sector,” Minister Littleproud said.

“That is why the Australian Government is putting temporary measures in place to allow important work in the agriculture sector to continue and enable workers already here to extend their stay and remain lawfully in Australia until they are able to return to their home countries.

“At the same time it is critical we manage this labour force to support the on-going health of regional communities and we’ve acted to include requirements to ensure visa holders follow self-isolation requirements when they move between regions”.

“The Australian government stands with industry and will continue to provide support where it is required most to ensure we’re still standing strong when we make it through this pandemic.”

We are working closely with State and Territory Governments and industry to ensure appropriate health controls are in place for the ongoing health and well-being of our regional communities.

The National Farmers Federation has developed best practice guidance for farmers regarding requirements for accommodation and working arrangements for farm workers (either domestic or migrant) during the covid-19 outbreak.

“We have asked the Chief Medical Officer to review these guidelines and it is critical that they are then considered by the Australian Health Protection Principal Committee, Minister Littleproud said.

Ms Landry said the visa extensions are one more way that the Australian Government was giving Capricornia farmers and communities critical support during what has been a very difficult start to the year.
“Sadly, there’s been a significant number of Australians who’ve lost their jobs due to the economic impacts of COVID-19, but the Australian Government is ensuring that will not be the case for in Capricornia,” Ms Landry said.

“I know there has been strong interest from job ads and I welcome the announcement that we are keeping market testing requirements in place to ensure recruitment of Australians first.

“I have also written to the CEOs of Aldi Australia, BHP, Commonwealth Bank, Coles and Telstra to ensure Central Queenslanders are considered when applying for jobs with their organisations during the coronavirus pandemic.
“The visa extensions will ensure that Capricornia businesses have the skills to protect their interests and maximise their profits.”

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