Qld accused of flying in foreign fruit-pickers ahead of unemployed Aussies

The Queensland government has been slammed for flying in overseas workers to pick fruit instead of letting unemployed Australians come north to do it.

Up to 20,000 peak period picker and labour jobs are currently available across the state, with the National Farmers Federation pleading for those who are out of work to come and give fruit picking a go.

It could mean that crops will be lost if there aren’t enough people to pick them during the season.


But, the federal minister for agriculture David Littleproud has told The Today Show that this is something they tried to avoid, with the ‘AG workers code’.

He says all the states except for Queensland, Western Australia and Tasmania have signed up for it.

“This is about the free movement of labour between states in a Covid safe way, and what we’re saying is ‘let’s allow farmers and AG workers to move’.

“And then there’s a third cohort that the states want to classify as seasonal workers.

“And then there’s sometimes backpackers that have been in the country sometime, and even Australians that are doing it.

“But the challenge we’ve got is that when one state doesn’t sign up, it means that if you’re picking fruit in Griffith at the moment and you want to go to Bowen to pick mangos, you’ll get pulled up at Stanthorpe and you’ll get put in a motel for about $2,800 worth of cost,” Minister Littleproud said.

He’s also criticised Queensland in particular for flying in workers from the Pacific, and allowing them to quarantine on site.

“The Queensland government are currently flying in overseas workers from the Pacific, and letting them isolate on farm and work on farm.

“It’s just not common sense.

“We’re incentivising Australians with up to $6,000 in reimbursement of travel costs, to get them off the couch to have a crack, and we’ve got states holding us up,” Minister Littleproud said.

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Yep the two rule continues in QLD.
We had the chance but blew it.
Now another 4 years of increasing unemployment and welfare dependency.
Where is the CMO now!

I don’t like this government you have to think of farmers no pickers that means we all suffer supermarkets can’t get fruit into there shops farmers lose money take strawberries hardly any in shops and there should be plenty.

It could also be that the people are getting money from the gov for nothing so why bother working?
They shot themselves in the foot.
So the fact that some people from wherever want to work. Then so be it.
So where’s the incentives coming from? Oh that’s right tax payers again.
Stop saying its qld that won’t allow this and look at what the gov is doing as a whole.

1500 Aussies signed up to do it but farmers wouldn’t hire them. Not all are dole bludgers

That is so true know of people who applied for Strawberry picking around the Caboolture and areas on the North coast ..and have got no acknowledgement have further tried to get feedback got no response

I’m from bundaberg, and if your not at a backpacker hostel you have no chance of getting a job on a farm

My company in QLD posted a few full time positions since April when restrictions started to hit hard, one of the full time permanent positions didn’t get a single application for almost 2 months. We ended up needing to hire someone directly related to a colleague as last resort because no one applied and why would they if they get paid to do nothing? This is a cushy job that just greets clients, albeit quiet during COVID, at a seated desk and sends off packages in an air conditioned environement. Location is in greater Brisbane area.

Don’t blame the government, it is the people and what their alternative options are and we know how rough farm work can be and how most people refuse to even consider it. If no one would even apply to that job we posted for permanent full time I imagine even less will be willing to work on a farm when jobseeker pays decently and consistently.

John Doe your a liar!
You say you advertised a job and did not get a single response in 2 weeks. Where did you advertise? I seriously do not believe you. Just look on Seek, a casual cleaners job paying very minimum wage is getting 600 plus applications within 3 days. I’m applying for minimum 10 jobs a day. In last 8 weeks I’ve had one response from employer and one interview. I was told not suitable for job even tho I had job qualification. All you people with jobs saying people don’t want to work have no idea. Love for you to be in my shoes

There are plenty of people with no income support, stranded in our country just like Aussies overseas but they’re locked out of your state. Go Queensland!!!!

And now the government has extended jobkeeper until March 2021, good luck getting these people out to look for work until this is stopped.

Its not just job keeper, but job seeker as well, there is a feast of additional benefits that come with these perks as well.
Rent assistance, discounted rego and license’s, child care concession’s, health care assistance, gas and electricity assistance etc.
So when they say the $$$ are not enough to survive, if you can scam all the other benefits then your laughing.

You idiots are carrying on as if it’s a high paying job. Someone advertised a fruit picking job at $55 per bin. The bins were massive and made of wood. People were saying it would take a week to fill up or a few days. Who wants to earn $55 for 3 days work? Not me that’s for sure.

I laughed whole day for Your comment

Met a group of backpackers last week working around Moree driving chaser bins. They were working in fruitpicking before. Were paid 3,50 an hour after the farmer deducted money for accommodation and food, both poor quality.

I live in Cairns and applied for many fruit picking jobs to which I was rejected. I’m still looking for work yet my applications never progress. If these farmers are crying out for staff they shouldn’t really be rejecting applications

You won’t get a picking or hospitality job in Cairns unless YOU are a BACKPACKER BEEN THERE YEARS AGO GOOD LUCK

its because of covit the light is finnally being shone on the scam “POOR” farmers have run for years,its about time to stop all the tax subsidies, hand outs, bailouts ,drought relief,flood relief and benefits they get,if you run any other small business in this country and go broke thats your problem, it time to level the playing field

About time scamming farmers are being exposed

Agree about the farmers.. they only want to hire backpackers.. in NQld I had an employer admit they will only hire backpackers because they have no family commitments and can work whenever.. farmers do get a lot of handouts from the government that other small businesses don’t.. farmers are worshipped by the government and can rip off workers and the government turn a blind eye

I’ve been working in fruit picking this whole year in farms across QLD. Is this a joke? Do you guys really think that the exploitative work that we do is preventing from australians to get those jobs? Nobody wants to do those underpaid shi**y jobs under the sun and the jobs are there ready to be taken but hardly any aussie would do it simply because you can get better jobs (thank God), that’s all. Please, don’t agitate the easy xenophobic speech, I invite you to work in a strawberry piece rate farm in Caboolture and then we’ll discuss.