While Australia’s cost of living crisis is biting for many families, most still turn their backs to a lucrative, $2000-a-week job. Earlier this week, Nationals MP Anne Webster took to Facebook to share a passionate plea for the nation’s citrus growers, who are facing a critical shortage of workers. At the moment, there are not enough workers available to pick this season’s bumper crops, leaving the ripe fruit to simply rot away on the ground.
Dr. Webster, who holds the regional Victorian seat of Mallee in the state’s northwest, explained that the problem could end up costing millions. “Citrus growers here in Sunraysia are faced with wonderful crops and a healthy export market (despite global shipping constraints), but there is one critical ingredient missing: workers,” she posted.
“Citrus pickers can currently earn $400 per day, working just 10.30-16.30 h. That is $2000 per week. But there are so few workers these crops are at risk of falling to the ground. The citrus industry is worth $520 million. If it falls to the ground, it is worth zero.”
She also hit out at the government, claiming Labour had “canned the Ag visa, and yet have provided no solution to this unfolding disaster.”