Australia's grey nomad army is being asked to put down the BBQ tongs and walk past the pool towel to instead come to the aid of the nation by helping process a bumper grain harvest.
Recruitment and employment firm Programmed says around 3,000 workers are urgently needed in the next month to help with Australia’s $9.3 billion crop industry.
Grey nomads, along with students, rural residents and those simply seeking an adventure, are being offered the opportunity to harvest wheat, barley and canola across 30 locations in regional NSW, Victoria, South Australia and Queensland between October and December.
Previously, these roles were filled by foreigners who travelled half-way around the world for an experience on Australian farms. The COVID-19 pandemic has shut off this labour supply.
Pay rates range from $27 to $35 per hour for an average 30-60 hour working week, depending upon the job.
Australian citizens can claim up to $6,000 from the Australian Government for accommodation, travel, food, clothing and protective equipment while foreigners can claim up to $2,000.
“Almost 40,000 grey nomads are on the road at any one time, looking to build outback and rural experiences,” said Programmed’s Executive General Manager for Programmed Skilled Workforce, David Hele said.
“While many are retired, a large proportion are seeking work opportunities as they make their way around the country.
Why not spend the October-December period having a wonderful adventure, and getting paid for it at the same time?
“The same goes for university students or those already living in regional areas, and looking to pick up some reliable employment this spring.
“Aussies can apply online right now for a range of different roles in towns like Barren Junction, Bogan Gate, West Wyalong or Narromine in NSW or you can try your luck in Goondiwindi or the Darling Downs in Queensland. On the job training is provided.
“Grab a mate, grab your partner, and join the harvest.
“In the past, our farmers have relied heavily on 150,000 backpackers who fill 80 percent of the seasonal workforce required on farms.
“However, since the pandemic hit Australian shores, there are currently 75 per cent fewer backpackers in Australia, leaving a gaping hole this harvest season.”
Indoor and outdoor jobs are available, from grain sampling to grain handling, weighbridge operating, customer service, and assisting as a plant operator.
According to the 2020-21 annual report of holiday park owner Ingenia, released last week, there are 741,000 caravans and campervans registered in Australia - and this number is growing.
Some 3,600 caravans were built in the first two months of 2021, a 15 per cent increase from 2020 and the highest local production in 30 years.
The Ingenia report said an ongoing aging demographic and the COVID-19 pandemic restricting international travel meant demand for domestic tourism was expected to remain high for the next three to four years.
An increasing number of over 50s communities cater for grey nomads by providing large garages and caravan parking spaces.
Comment from our CEO
Downsizing.com.au CEO Amanda Graham said that, given Australians were still unable to travel overseas, the opportunity to travel around Australia and still earn some income along the way was an attractive option for many.
Many people have had to defer their traditional overseas retirement trip, and more people have instead invested in a caravan or campervan so they can still make the most of this time, and also stay fit and healthy.”
“For these people, helping with the grain harvest while travelling around Australia is something which could be very agreeable to them.”
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