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Why there’s a push for a special agriculture visa, despite COVID-19 pandemic

Fresh fruit and vegetables could become sparse in supermarkets if the government doesn’t consider a special agriculture visa, the National Farmers’ Federation has warned.

Much of the labour used to pick fruit and vegetables in Australia currently can’t work on farms, given border closures due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Backpackers, migrant workers and interstate travellers make up a large chunk of the work force.

“If we don’t get that work force in, then it’s going to be really difficult,” Fiona Simson, president of the FNF, told Tom Elliott.

She said that for whatever reason, even with high unemployment, Australians just didn’t seem to want to take up the work.

“Even though we’re appealing all the time for Australians to come and do our jobs, because it’s seasonal in nature, because it often means people have to leave home, because it is really hard work, it doesn’t really appeal to Australians.”

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