EMPLOYERS in the horticulture sector are now able to access a reliable, returning seasonal workforce if they are unable to source enough Australian workers.
Senator Jacinta Collins will officially launch the Seasonal Worker Program at the inaugural Seasonal Worker Program Conference in Sydney today (2pm).
Senator Collins said the $21.7 million Seasonal Worker Program started on July 1 and would provide a reliable, returning workforce for the horticulture sector, as well as trial seasonal labour mobility arrangements in four new sectors.
"While horticulture remains the focus of the program, a targeted three-year trial will run in the aquaculture, cane, cotton and accommodation industries," she said.
"The program builds on the Pacific Seasonal Worker Pilot Scheme and will provide a shot in the arm to industries facing seasonal labour shortages.
"It will also provide for the return of seasonal workers in subsequent seasons where employers continue to have unmet demand for labour, delivering security for Australian industries."
Senator Collins said Australian employers would be required to demonstrate they had a commitment to employing Australian job seekers as a first priority, employ seasonal workers in accordance with Australian work standards, and contribute to their travel costs.
"It is important to note these positions are only available to Australian employers who have a demonstrated unmet demand for labour and a commitment to Australian job seekers," Senator Collins said.
"This program will also make a significant contribution to the economic development of Pacific Island countries and East Timor."
Seasonal workers will get training in English literacy, numeracy, first aid and basic computer skills and will return home equipped with a range of new skills to increase their opportunities for further work.
Countries eligible to participate include East Timor, Kiribati, Nauru, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tonga, Tuvalu and Vanuatu.
For more information go to deewr.gov.au/seasonalworker