Federal Member for Mallee, Anne Webster MP, welcomes the announcement by NSW that Seasonal workers within the border zone will be able to travel across the border for work.
“These workers are essential to the horticulture industry on both sides of the river, required for picking citrus, propagating grape vines and planting trees,” Dr Webster said.
“Without these workers the Citrus industry was at a standstill. Citrus Australia estimated $1.7 million a day was not being picked because of this ruling. The decision to bar workers from crossing the border highlighted a city centric policy decision that harmed our regional communities.”
“Since the tougher restrictions were announced, I have been fighting to have seasonal workers included in border exemptions, meeting daily with the NSW Cross Border Commisioner, taking the issue directly to the Prime Minister, the Deputy Prime Miniister and lobbying other Federal and State Ministers for assistance.”
From today, seasonal workers who have resided in the defined New South Wales and Victoria border zone, which includes towns such as Mildura and Robinvale, will be able to cross the border daily to undertake farm work in NSW by accessing a border zone resident permit.
In order to access the permit, seasonal workers will be required to declare they have not travelled in Victoria, outside the border zone, in the last 14 days. They will also be required to produce evidence of their place of residence and place of work.
“Today’s announcement is welcomed by industry, and I congratulate Citrus Australia for the work they have been doing in lobbying on behalf of their growers.”
“The decision to bar seasonal workers should never have been made. I’m glad the NSW government has finally come to their senses by reversing the decision.”