Grain harvest in jeopardy amid critical worker shortage
Western Australia has had another bumper grain season, but the industry is facing a crisis – with thousands of workers desperately needed for the harvest.
WAFarmers Grains Council President Mic Fels told Perth LIVE’s Oliver Peterson all skill levels are required to fill the shortfall.
“It’s going to get tough if we can’t find some workers, I think there’s going to be a number of them parked up in the sheds – the harvesters – because we don’t have enough operators for them,” he said.
“Just with a bit of polling we’ve done of our membership, we’re probably 4-6,000 workers short for the coming harvest, so there’s plenty of jobs out there if anybody’s looking for casual work.
“We need all ranges of skill levels, but there’s a certain number of them, we’re saying about a thousand of them, we need skilled experienced workers.”
The industry normally relies on a transient workforce, made up of travellers from the northern hemisphere.
But pleas to the Federal Government to help bring in some overseas workers have so far, fallen on deaf ears.
“The state government has come in strongly behind it, they’re calling on the Feds to look at opening Christmas Island, which has been done before … but it’s been very quiet on the Federal front on this issue for several weeks,” he said.
“We’re asking them to wake up – and pay attention to this issue.”
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(Photo: iStock by Getty Images)