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Kiwis called on to save Australian farms from harvest disaster

3AW Breakfast
Article image for Kiwis called on to save Australian farms from harvest disaster

The federal government is hoping Kiwi backpackers will save farmers from harvest disaster, amid growing fears that labour shortages will drive up the price of fruit and vegetables.

Trade Minister Simon Birmingham said there are “real labour shortages” and New Zealanders are uniquely positioned to help.

“Nearly all Australian states and territories are open to New Zealand and have Kiwis come without the need to quarantine,” he said.

“We really want to make sure that those backpackers … know that the borders are open, they can come.

“Travel around our country, fill some jobs that need and usually have backpackers doing them.”

Usually, Australia would have about 135,000 backpackers in the country during summer. Currently, there are only about 50,000.

“They spend pretty much every dollar they earn … they’re pretty good, high spending tourists to have,” Mr Birmingham said.

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