Labour solutions

By Country News on December 29, 2015

Job facilitator MADEC is pushing for more work in harvest labour.

Since taking over the harvest labour services in Shepparton in July, MADEC has worked with between 60 and 80 growers in the Goulburn Valley.

MADEC provides labour solutions across Australia that can be tailored to the needs of a grower.

Harvest officer Kristen Elliott said MADEC services aimed to connect fruit industry employers with people people looking for work in harvesting.

‘‘It isn’t just about picking fruit, it can be packing, pruning or just general farm work,’’ Ms Elliott said.

She said backpackers from all over the world came to visit Australia to travel and earn money.

‘‘They generally speak good English and are really useful on a farm,’’ Ms Elliott said.

Before any workers head out to a farm, they must go through a safety induction. They are then issued with a work entitlement card and usually begin work the next day.

Employers go to MADEC with an idea of the type of employee that would suit their business, then MADEC conducts a screening process to choose employees suitable for the job.

Ms Elliott said challenges could arise if employers didn’t meet the requirements of a fair work environment.

‘‘We don’t often get harvest workers coming in to say they aren’t getting paid properly, but when we do they need to take up those issues with Fair Work,’’ Ms Elliott said.

‘‘We are just a facilitator to allow both parties the opportunity to provide and receive work.’’

Joe Fichera from Fichera Orchards said the majority of the workers he had received were hard-working.

‘‘Yeah, they are good — a lot of them come to travel and earn a bit of money,’’ Mr Fichera said.

He said there were 10 days of apricot picking before pears and plums would begin in January.

Ms Elliott visited Fichera Orchard in July to see if it needed help this season.

‘‘We always need help,’’ Mr Fichera said.

‘‘I just say to Kristen I need two or three workers and she gets back to me.

‘‘It works well.’’

By Country News on December 29, 2015

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