THE search for a solution to the seasonal worker crisis has continued, with NSW Farmers now calling for on-farm quarantine for those coming in from overseas.
The two-week quarantine period has been a headache for those looking to bring in the workers, with the time delay and cost proving difficult to manage.
A government subsidy that saw half the cost of hotel quarantine covered was a huge bonus, but the other half of the bill still fell on farmers that would rather direct their funds elsewhere.
The new fix that has been offered up by the National Farmers Federation, backed by NSW Farmers, would see that two-week period spent on the farm to lower costs, and even improve productivity.
With a bumper harvest expected, producers need as many hands on deck as possible as fast as possible.
Without the workforce to assist with harvest, the opportunity could be lost with devastating effects, according to NSW Farmers president James Jackson.
"After years of drought, our farmers are finally facing the prospect of record-breaking harvests," he said.
"Labour shortages are the main barrier standing in their way, so we need as many tools as possible to get harvests off the ground.
"For us, on-farm quarantine is a no-brainer that could improve the likelihood of workers reaching Australia in time for harvests."
Should the solution be adopted, there could even be the possibility for the workers while they are isolating on the farm, a NSW Farmers spokesman said.
"This is one of the issues to be worked through by the joint steering committee that we are calling for as part of the agreed health protocols," he said.
"There is scope for work participation during quarantine period subject to relevant health protocols being in place."
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