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Fruit pickers wanted

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How to attract Tasmanians to fill the void of fruit picking jobs left by migrant workers while our borders are closed is being thrashed out by the state government and agricultural sector.

Officials met yesterday and will again later this week.

A major campaign targeting locals is being launched by the government in coming weeks.

"They've also put some money aside for transport to get people from more of our city locations to the rural locations to do the picking," Fruit Growers Tasmania CEO Peter Cornish said.

But with some 8000 positions available for the harvest season, it's understood hiring some senior interstate workers is inevitable. 

"...particularly South Australia, Western Australia and Northern Queensland. And they're workers who have been here before and are linked to our employers. So there's a significant cohort of experienced, trained people that we need to come back and work with our locals," Mr Cornish said.

"The process has a number of steps in it. The very first step is to encourage as many Tasmanians as we can to take on these jobs and some of the feedback from businesses has been fantastic. My understanding is that Tasmanians are putting their hand up," Premier Peter Gutwein said.

"People who normally travel overseas maybe for a gap year, people leaving school who may never have thought about agriculture as an industry they might be into, and a whole range of uni students. Unfortunately hospitality work may be a lot less than what was expected. So we're hopeful there are people out there," CEO Peter Cornish said of those who could be enticed.

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 Image: Pixabay