Finding workers for agribusiness and commercial fisheries during COVID-19
The Queensland Government is helping agriculture, commercial fishing and processing businesses to find workers and provide a safe work environment during the COVID-19 pandemic. Together we can keep Queensland's food supplies secure while meeting COVID-19 public health directions.
Many businesses have relied on a regular pattern of seasonal workers and a stable, permanent workforce for many seasons. COVID-19 has impacted worker availability and supply chains and you should anticipate and plan for disruptions. We're assisting with relocation incentives to encourage Queenslanders to take up seasonal work opportunities, however, you may also need to consider alternative ways to recruit workers. You can:
- sign up and use the free Harvest Trail jobs website to recruit workers
- list vacancies for free or register your business on jobsearch.gov.au
- contact your local jobactive providers
- apply to participate in the Pacific Labour Scheme and Seasonal Worker Programme
- contact a licensed labour hire service provider
- encourage your industry representative body/organisation to promote #pickqld
- advertise on social media, like Facebook and Twitter, and/or traditional, local methods like newspapers, community bulletin boards or roadside signs. It's a good idea to mention that relocation allowances may be available to take up seasonal work, and to provide a link to our #pickqld site.
You should also ensure:
- your business is an eligible employer for the Back to work in agriculture incentive scheme and Australian government assistance
- induction processes, role descriptions and work procedures are in place and current (including procedures to prevent the spread of COVID-19)
- suppliers of labour (e.g. labour hire, jobactive) understand your requirements and are selective in who they send to you (e.g. do you need heavy lifting capacity or intermittent work hours?).
Government and industry are working together and meeting regularly to identify current and emerging issues resulting from actions to reduce the spread of COVID-19 throughout the community, and developing strategies to address these.
Read more about available financial and wellbeing support for agribusiness.
Queensland Agriculture Workforce Network (QAWN)
The Queensland Government's Queensland Agriculture Workforce Network (QAWN) has officers across the state providing free advice on workforce services and initiatives to all agribusinesses, regardless of commodity or organisation membership.
If you are a Queensland agriculture employer and require additional advice on these services, a local agriculture workforce officer can help.
Agriculture coordination officers
Queensland agriculture coordination officers are available to provide information and support to producers, the agriculture industry and local governments to manage coronavirus (COVID-19).
To contact an agriculture coordination officer, email email@example.com or phone our customer service centre on 13 25 23.
Workers seeking new employment
Workers are encouraged not to visit farms to request work and should instead register their availability at Harvest Trail. They can also phone the National Harvest Labour Information Service on 1800 062 332.
- Read the latest health information and instructions.
- Find information on Pick Queensland for temporary visa holders and seasonal workers looking for work.
- Download the SafeFood Queensland guideline for reducing workforce impacts related to COVID-19.
- Read a case study on how the Department of Agriculture and Fisheries and industry worked together to help local agribusinesses meet their COVID-19 requirements.
- Read the Fair Work Ombudsman's advice to help you understand your fair work obligations.
- Read about border restrictions and exemptions for agribusiness and fisheries.
- Last reviewed: 14 Jan 2021
- Last updated: 18 Jan 2021