Picking citrus and keeping their distance: Horticulture during the time of COVID-19
When coronavirus restrictions began, Simfresh—which produces almost 2m boxes of citrus annually from farms in NSW and Queensland—was “already ahead of the game” in helping its workers stay healthy and happy during the pandemic, operations manager Luke Cini says.
‘Best picking season ever’: How recruiting Pacific workers has helped Simfresh grow
Simfresh is a family-owned business with farms in New South Wales and Queensland. The company supplies around 1.8 million boxes of citrus each year to the domestic and export markets. Having recently expanded its growing operations, Simfresh has had difficulty finding enough workers to meet its increased labour needs.
Saving money, making connections and developing new skills
K&S Contracting specialises in forestry and weed control. The business signed up to the Pacific Labour Scheme in 2018 after struggling to find reliable local labour for forestry work. It currently employs five Tuvaluans who are now active members of the local community.
Recruiting workers from Samoa has 'been a tremendous saving' for this business
Cowra Meat Processing employs around 200 workers but struggles to find staff. In 2018, general manager, Peter Browne, visited Samoa to interview workers through the Pacific Labour Scheme. In early 2019, seven men from Samoa started work at the processing facility.
Each of these women has a goal to start a business or improve their farm
Five women from a remote village in the highlands of Papua New Guinea have been recruited to pick mandarins at Ironbark Citrus in outback Queensland. Ironbark Citrus joined the Seasonal Worker Programme in 2012 and also recruits workers from Timor-Leste and Tonga. Working in Australia has been life-changing for the workers.