Backpackers Wanted: Aussie Farmers Call for Working Holiday Program to Restart

Farmers and the tourism sector have teamed up to call on the Australian government to restart the Working Holiday Maker Program to alleviate the current workforce shortages in the agricultural sector. The National Farmers Federation (NFF) and the Backpacker and Youth Tourism Advisory Panel (BYTAP) has called on the Morrison government to create a controlled and “COVID safe” plan to restart the working holiday program. According to the farming and tourism bodies, backpackers can make up an estimated 80 percent of the agricultural sectors’ seasonal workforce. However, the current numbers of backpackers in Australia are less than half the usual amount, and the numbers are declining every day as backpackers return to their home countries. Farmers are now extremely concerned that Australia’s peak fruit and vegetable seasons will be lost, causing the economy a $6.3 billion loss and could increase the price of summer produce by up to 60 percent …