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As challenges start to emerge around the ability to cross state borders, with growers needing labour and machinery in place for what is expected to be a bumper harvest, grain growers’ representative body GrainGrowers is calling on state and federal governments to work collaboratively to ensure growers can get on with the job.

“We need to ensure the skilled professionals who are an essential part of harvest are able to get to where they need to be,” said Brett Hosking, GrainGrowers Chair. “Growers have been proactive in getting COVID-19 plans on farms, we’re not asking for special treatment, but we are emphasizing that the state and federal governments need to work together.”

“Inconsistent messaging and squabbling among state leaders doesn’t solve anything. Growers and the support services that are an essential part of a harvest operation need workable solutions. No state or federal leader cares more about our vulnerable rural communities than those of us that live and raise our families in them. Ensuring the success of the farmers that support these communities in a safe manner is critical to each community’s ability to thrive.”

Some examples of current roadblocks for growers include not being able to cross borders to collect essential supplies and being unable to access machinery and spare parts. “We know growers in Western Australia are concerned about being able to fill roles and across the East Coast, contractors worried about being able to move across Queensland, New South Wales and Victoria. Harvest won’t wait for the correct measures to be put in place, we need our leaders to act now and apply common sense.”

With the approaching harvest to be a significant boost to the Australian economy, the
settings must be right for growers and farm workers to be able to cross borders safely
and efficiently.