A NEW state government campaign urging South Australians to take up seasonal work in primary industries across the state in an effort to fill vacancies usually filled by interstate and international travellers.
The Seasonal Jobs SA campaign aims to connect jobseekers with jobs and agencies sourcing workers across agricultural jobs in the state, with the campaign's website providing information on roles and requirements, accommodation options, and information surrounding COVID-19 restrictions.
The campaign's tagline is 'if you need jobs, we need you', and Primary Industries Minister Tim Whetstone urged those whose employment had been impacted, to try seasonal work.
"This year around 24,000 workers are needed in SA in the horticulture sector alone, so I would strongly encourage anyone looking for work to consider seasonal roles," he said.
Mr Whetstone said a wide range of jobs were available, to suit a number of skill sets.
"Whether it is jobs undertaking tree-planting, fruit-picking, vegetable-packing, grape-harvesting or vine-pruning, you'll be playing an important role in putting food on the tables for SA families," he said.
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Citrus SA chair, Mark Doecke, was confident the domestic workforce could 'step up', with many jobs usually filled by backpackers having been filled by locals in recent weeks.
"One of the packagers at Loxton advertised for people for the packing, they needed 70 people and that was filled in three days, by locals," he said.
"Normally locals make up about 10 per cent of their workforce. I thought if that company could do that, we should be right (to fill vacant roles)."
It's a fast-moving issue and businesses are working really hard to come up with ways to fill potential vacancies.
Ausveg SA state manager, Jordan Brooke-Barnett, said a number of horticultural businesses had advertised jobs in recent weeks and received strong response, but the domestic workforce had not traditionally worked in the industry before, which could lead to new complications.
"We have high quality assurance and regulatory standards, and so it takes time to onboard someone and teach them," he said.
"(New workers) have to work at a productive rate, it takes people a while to up to full productivity.
"We did have a workforce that was traditionally used, and used to working in the industry, and now we have to look to retaining what we've got, but also supplementing workforce a well, it's going to be a testing time for the industry I think."
Mr Brooke-Barnett said the federal government's decision to extend visas of Pacific workers under the Seasonal Worker Program and the Pacific Labour Scheme would also be of benefit to SA's horticultural industry, which is moving into its busiest time of the year.
He said the horticultural industry had been "extremely resilient" so far.
"It's a fast-moving issue and businesses are working really hard to come up with ways to fill potential vacancies. We're in a period of uncertainty, but we just have to take it day by day," he said.