Will there be enough harvest labour this season?
The answer is yes, according to Madec’s Harvest Labour manager Scott Cameron, speaking at the recent Regional Forum in Renmark.
“The backpacker tax was an absolute fizzer due to the hard work done by the industry,” he said.
Enquiries at Madec’s Renmark office have been “very, very, very high………the challenge is keeping them,” Scott said.
But, he said any negative coverage on traditional and social media could be potentially devastating and deter workers from the region.
Federal Government statistics show the majority of backpackers undertaking seasonal work are French (35%), 18% from Germany and Taiwan and Italy both at 15%.
People from Korea, the United Kingdom and Japan make up the remainder. Scott said there had also been a good uptake from the Seasonal Worker Program.
Scott said there are a few things which growers and contractors need to be aware of this season including being registered with the Australian Tax Office (ATO) if they directly employ backpackers.
Most backpackers are undertaking seasonal farm work to secure a second year visa. The government has changed some of the requirements and backpackers will now need to gross an average of $134.52 a day for the minimum required 88 days of work.
This means they need to average about $700 gross a week, however they can work for different employers during this 13 week period.
“To get a second year visa, they will need to provide pay slips which meet Australian standards,” Scott said.
In closing, Scott said one of the most important documents an employer of working holiday harvest labour must have is a signed piecework agreement, a 1263 form which is available here