Vanuatu seasonal workers complete quarantine
Last week Thursday marked the completion of the 14 day quarantine period at the Howard Springs facility for the 162 Vanuatu seasonal workers.
The quarantine completion has come at a welcome time with the peak of the mango harvest season having just commenced. The long anticipated first group of Vanuatu seasonal workers will now start picking fruit at Top End mango farms.
The department also partnered up with NT Farmers during August to launch a local worker attraction campaign encouraging Territorians to be local heroes by signing up for fruit picking jobs to help farmers get their produce to market.
Fruit picking provides a great opportunity for locals to participate in meaningful work with an iconic Territory product. Anyone can apply to do fruit picking – all you need is a good attitude, willingness to learn and to be reliable.
The NT is Australia’s largest grower of mangoes, producing around 52 per cent of the national crop with a farm gate production value of around $128.8 million. The Territory mango industry is facing challenges this year due to COVID-19 travel restrictions limiting the seasonal and backpacker workforces, with farmers expecting a shortfall of up to 1,000 workers. The Vanuatu seasonal workers will contribute to meeting this critical workforce shortage over the coming months, however more local workers are still needed.
If you know anyone keen to learn new skills, make great friends, work hard, earn good money and experience iconic Territory locations, send them to dpir.nt.gov.au/fruitpicking to find out how to apply to become a Territory hero.
It is anticipated the Vanuatu seasonal workers will remain in the Territory until the end of the mango season in December and will then travel to Queensland for their mango season, before returning to Vanuatu.
The seasonal worker trial has been a true collaboration between the Australian and Northern Territory governments, the Vanuatu Government, and NT Farmers and their members – particularly the NT Mango Association.