Influential lobby groups have declared a program to encourage welfare recipients to work on farms a failure, putting new pressure on the Morrison Government to create a dedicated agriculture visa to fix labour shortages in the rural sector.
The $27.5m Seasonal Work Incentives Trial has only found placements for 333 people with six months left to go on the two-year program, falling far short of its 7,600 possible places.Rural Newsletter Rural news in your inbox?
Subscribe for the national headlines of the day.
“It has been running for two years now and when you have a take-up rate of 4 to 5 per cent, that would suggest it won’t improve dramatically, so I would have thought it was [a failure],” Ben Rogers, general manager for workplace relations at the National Farmers’ Federation, said.
“It’s been tracking low since the program was launched [in mid-2017] and it’s consistent with the message we hear from our members — that the domestic seasonal workforce isn’t interested in doing harvest work.”
The low uptake rate comes despite Prime Minister Scott Morrison promoting the trial on a trip to South Australia in October, saying unemployed people could have their benefits reduced if they did not take up local jobs.Read More at www.abc.net.au