WA State government offering harvest worker incentives for 2021 season

Bumper crops: Wheat harvesting. Photo: Shutterstock.
Bumper crops: Wheat harvesting. Photo: Shutterstock.

The State government is offering incentives again in 2021 to encourage Western Australians to travel to the regions to assist the primary industries with the upcoming harvest.

It comes as the State joins with industry to launch the Harvest Force initiative, to support the grain harvest workforce.

The Primary Industries Workers Regional Travel and Accommodation Support Scheme was introduced in 2020, providing eligible workers with an accommodation allowance of $40 per night up to a maximum of 12 weeks, in addition to a one-off travel allowance of up to $500.

To date, more than $1.9 million has been provided as part of the program to more than 1500 applicants who have travelled to destinations throughout the State - particularly the South West and the Wheatbelt.

The McGowan Government has reset the scheme's eligibility criteria, allowing workers who claimed the scheme over the past 12 months to do so again in the upcoming harvest.

"We know we are on track for a record grain harvest this year, on top of the huge number of jobs available right across our primary industries," Agriculture and Food Minister Alannah MacTiernan said.

"We're pulling out all stops to encourage local workers to get out and support our farmers during the harvest.

"It has been very encouraging to see how many West Australians have listened to the call to arms in 2020 and 2021, heading out to the regions to support our agricultural industries.

"The Regional Travel and Accommodation Support Scheme has played a valuable role in attracting extra workers to the regions over the past 12 months, particularly during the busy grains and horticulture harvest period," she said.

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As part of efforts to mobilise a local agricultural workforce, the McGowan Government joined with Grain Growers Ltd and Agribusiness Australia to launch the Harvest Force initiative.

Harvest Force is a practical, innovative solution to source willing, qualified and experienced grain harvest personnel from the agribusiness sector and the Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development to assist WA farmers with this season's anticipated record crop.

Many agribusiness workers who have on-farm experience possess valuable skills, like machinery operation, and will require minimal training to assist with the grains harvest.

The State Government is funding a coordination role within Grain Growers to manage the movement of skilled agribusiness personnel into on-farm roles to support harvest.

The McGowan Government is also continuing to facilitate the Seasonal Worker Programme and Pacific Labour Scheme, which have seen more than 1750 Pacific Islanders safely enter WA since December 2020.

For more information on travel incentives, visit www.wa.gov.au/regional-travel-support.

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This story Call out for local workers for 2021 harvest season first appeared on Mandurah Mail.