Gurmesh Singh MP

HOTEL QUARANTINE SUBSIDY FOR OVERSEAS AG WORKERS EXTENDED

Farmers in the Coffs Harbour region will continue to benefit from a subsidy that halves the quarantine costs of overseas agricultural workers after the NSW Government extended the program into the 2021/22 financial year.

Member for Coffs Harbour Gurmesh Singh today welcomed the announcement and said it would significantly reduce the cost of mandatory quarantine.

“This is fantastic news and an important initiative from the NSW Government and I know our primary producers will welcome its extension,” Mr Singh said.

“Our farmers in the Coffs Harbour region were hit hard by a COVID-induced worker shortage and they rely on seasonal and foreign workers to fulfil their workforce needs.

“This 50 per cent subsidy reduces the cost to industry from approximately $3,000 per person to $1,500 per person.”

Mr Singh said the scheme would particularly help horticulture and meat processing industries which were typically small, family run businesses.

“These local producers rely on foreign workers and already many have benefited from this initiative to subsidise costs,” Mr Singh said.

The NSW Government has also implemented a range of other measures to overcome the agriculture workforce shortage, including spearheading the Ag Workers’ Code and the ‘Help Harvest NSW’ website to connect agriculture employers with out of work Australians.

Mandatory hotel quarantine remains a critical part of the state’s COVID defence and all international arrivals are required to enter hotel quarantine in accordance with the Public Health Orders.

All seasonal workers approved to quarantine in NSW are eligible for the subsidy, provided the majority of their work is undertaken in the State.