The Australian Government is investing $33.7 million to support farmers by encouraging and incentivising Australians to take a ‘domestic gap year’ and eligible temporary visa holders to work in the agriculture sector this coming harvest season.
Federal Member for Calare and Minister for Decentralisation and Regional Education, Andrew Gee said our agriculture sector in the Central West is facing unprecedented pressure on labour supply as a result of COVID-19.
“Through the 2020 Budget, the Liberal Nationals are investing $17.4 million in relocation support and $16.3 million in temporary Youth Allowance and ABSTUDY eligibility changes to incentivise people to take up seasonal farm work this summer.”
“Relocation allowances of up to $6,000 for Australians and up to $2,000 for eligible visa holders will be available from 1st November to undertake seasonal work in agriculture,” Mr Gee said.
“Under the Youth Allowance and AB- STUDY new criteria, a person who earns $15,000 through employment in the agricultural sector in regional Australia between 30th November 2020 and 31st December 2021 will be considered as independent for the purpose of YA (student) or ABSTUDY.
“This will significantly reduce the time needed for a young person to gain ‘independent’ status and claim Youth Allowance or ABSTUDY faster than under the existing criteria. These changes will ensure that our farm produce does not go to waste, while also helping to get more Aussies into work and more dollars into our local economy.”
From 1st November 2020, relocation assistance will be available to people who relocate to harvest and regional areas to take up at least 6 weeks of agricultural work, including Australians who are not receiving income support and those with the right to work in Australia.