Michael McCormack’s Instagram solution to fruit picker shortages
Deputy Prime Minister Michael McCormack is appealing to young Australians to move regionally to pick fruit and says if nothing else they should do it for likes on Instagram.
It comes as figures released by Ernst and Young today revealed a looming harvest labour shortage of about 26,000 workers by March.
The Government today confirmed changes to visa schemes to try and fill the shortfall, including the extension of some visas and the scrapping of age limits that rule out people over 30 applying.
Incentives will also be announced for people on Youth Allowance to take up farm work.
But besides these measures, there was one more reason young people should venture outside of capital cities, according to the National Party Leader.
“Have a go, come to regional Australia, bring your mobile and have that Instagram moment... up a ladder, picking fruit, blue sky in the background, wonderful country breeze, wonderful friends around,” he said.
“You’ll find more friends. You might even find the love of your life out in regional Australia.”
Mr McCormack doubled down when asked if young people should really go out to pick fruit just to “do it for the gram”.
“Yes, they should,” he said.
“There is also an obligation there to pitch in, to have this team Australia moment and do what’s right for and on behalf of your nation and more importantly perhaps, for and on behalf of yourself.”
On further encouraging people to move regionally and have costs like transport covered by the Government, Mr McCormack urged States to step up.
“We have to work with State Governments as well... it’s not just up to the Commonwealth,” he said.
“States have to step up too.”
He said matters like affordable public transport to ship people out to the regions were clearly a State responsibility.
However, even with the combination of foreign backpackers and Australian workers, Mr McCormack said there would still be shortfalls to fill.
“We’re going to need every hand on deck,” he said.
The Regional Australia Institutes said there are more than 45,000 available jobs in regional Australia across all sectors.
“That’s only going to increase,” Mr McCormack said.
“We’re in for a bumper harvest season.”
“That’s only going to increase
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