Hotel quarantine subsidy extended for overseas ag workers

Producers across the state’s west 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 the Dubbo electorate Dugald Saunders said the initiative would significantly reduce costs in an industry that often relied on overseas workers.

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

“Our farmers have been hit hard by a COVID-induced worker shortage, with many of them relying 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 Saunders 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 many have already benefited from this initiative to subsidise costs,” Mr Saunders 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.

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