Unemployment Rate Stands at 5.9% While Agriculture Industry Suffers from Workers Shortage. High Personal Income Taxes The Cause?

Mind boggling news today from the ABC that Australia unemployment rate stands at 5.9% while our agricultural sector let crops die due to lack of workers. Millions spent on overseas workers which could have been spent on Aussies workers instead. Is Australia's high personal income taxes the cause of this uniquely Australian phenomenon?


Is Australia's high personal income taxes and consequently low take-home pay the cause why Australians would rather go on jobkeeper/jobseeker rather than seek gainful employment and impact our national labour productivity? I can definitely empathise with that. Having worked locally and abroad in Hong Kong and Qatar (tax havens) I would argue there is a case to be made for Australia's high personal income taxes to be cut to increase employment rates and productivity, if the Big Coal-enamoured government could bring itself to increase taxes on giant corporations like Google/Apple and the miners, who will not offshore their operations just because Australia hiked corporate taxes because they need our natural resources!

And on a personal note just because I'm a big ol' greenie at heart, bring on an environmental corporate tax on the miners like Gina Rinehart while we are at it!


  • +8

    I live in a regional area that has a large fruit growing industry.

    It is my observation that it is very difficult to even attract local workers to fruit pick because:

    It is seasonal - most locals want either permanent full time or part time employment. If they are already gainfully employed they won't be picking fruit.

    Youth either strive to go to the capital city for University, take up a trade or work on the family farm. In all cases they are too busy to go seasonal fruit picking.

    Local unemployed are unemployed because they are generally unmotivated types and receive adequate government allowances to fund their lifestyle. Fruit picking farms don't want unmotivated easily bored young people. Days are long and the work can be quite physically demanding.

    • +1

      How much are these government allowances and what conditions do they need to do to get it?

      I keep hearing that its great but when I see that I basically have to constantly apply, go to interviews, etc. How is that better than getting paid more at woolies and not have to worry about benefits getting suspended at a whim or get robodebt'd?

      • I took a tour of the orange farm up in Mildura once, owner said that they couldn’t get any of the locals to work there because there were literally generations of families who were on Centrelink. It’s also one of the towns in aus with the highest unemployment rate.

        For what it’s worth i was told it’s very easy to stay on jobseeker etc, fake a few job apps, show up to interviews drunk or stoned, whatever.

        • +5

          Why doesn’t farmer boomer meet the market and offer enough $$ to attract the talent he/she so badly needs.

          • @Vote for Pedro: They cant afford too, consumer demand is for cheap produce.

            Its better off to farm what they can with family and whatever workers they have.
            Paying more for workers would end up them losing money because they cant sell the produce at a fair value.

            • +2

              @Gumster: Then they don’t have a valid business model and should close or move to a niche family based business.

              Sick and tired of farmers always crying poor and demanding bailouts or import cheap foreign labour

              • @Vote for Pedro: They had a working system that allowed backpackers/tourists to work and extend the visa.
                Covid just messed it all up.

                Yes there is some mega farm corporations that are exploiting people im not going to deny that.

                But there is still a lot of smaller operators that are too big to manage by themselves and their family; but too small to have other fulltime workers.

                • +3

                  @Gumster: Oh but you see, this thread leans towards slagging locals (or ‘dole bludgers’) for not moving to follow the ag work, and that is wrong.

                  As for the false economy they create by allowing cheap imported labour, that’s for another time.

                  • +2

                    @Vote for Pedro: Vote for Pedro I'm not interested in slagging on dole bludgers.
                    Just need more freedom for Centrelink Area managers to make rulings on centrelink payments. This could allow them to incentivize 'shit' jobs that are available in their specific locality; something the current national policies cant address.

                    Unfortunately this gets messy as you have to pay people enough to incentivize working for the season but if you pay them too much this effects Centrelink entitlements
                    It also encourages employers to pay shit knowing the governemnt will prop up peoples wages.

              • @Vote for Pedro: They only don’t have a valid business model because everyone else in the game plays unfairly. If for example this one orange farm started paying their workers correctly and enlisted full time employees, it doesn’t mean every other orange farm will go ahead and do that, and the ones that don’t will still exploit workers so they can sell their fruit for a lower price to supermarkets.
                Supermarkets/buyers won’t pay the extra because it is more ethically sourced. People don’t seem to care as long as their grocery bill is cheaper at the end of the week.

                • @yesApplez: So you’re argument is ‘everyone else is dodgy so i may as well be’ rather than ‘lets all not be dodgy and close down the shonky operators and treat people fairly’

                  • @Vote for Pedro: I'm not arguing for it I'm saying that is probably what happens. In the same way you wouldn't expect every industry to suddenly grow a conscious and do right by moral standards- instead industries find loop holes they can exploit to maximize profits, which often would result in exploiting their workers.
                    My argument then would be more intervention to try get rid of the loopholes so these practices can go away.

          • @Vote for Pedro: Because this will bankrupt the farmer. The farmer is already suffering from low yield due to drought and other environmental factor. People want things cheap. Coles and woolies have contract with framer on the wholesale price. Are you happy to pay $10 per kg for apples?

            People on welfare are happy on what they are getting, otherwise they would have be working already. The other is, why would they do hard labour if they can make more to be a waiter or the person who turn the stop go sign at the roadwork?

            Backpackers were good because they get to travel and live the Australian live with free accommodation, in exchange of low pay

            • @kfcfatfat: If farmers don’t have a business model that meets the market or is capable of dealing with droughts (a cost of business) then they do not have a viable business.

              The ‘excuse’ that consumers only want to pay lowest price is true but you can’t blame the consumer. The farmers that are capable of meeting the market with supply at prices consumers will pay for their product and can attract labour are the ones who have a viable business model.

              I love how farmers and their supporters are all about letting the market sort itself out except when they need to manipulate the market and pay crap because they can’t attract labour or they need a bailout because of poor business management (planning for droughts)

              • -1

                @Vote for Pedro: Sounds like you are a bean counter!

                A model to deal with droughts? This is near impossible. Framing need water. No water, no growing. Draught makes the farmer only getting a small allocation of water, or nothing if there are just no water.

                Farming is not like running a shop. It takes years for some farm to start producing. For example, apple trees takes 4 - 8 years to bear fruits. You simply just can't wipe your field and start growing something else.

                If we don't support the farmers, they will quit farming and do something more viable, become a mechanic or start a different business. Less people in farming, less home grown produces will be available, then demand is higher then supply, then you pay higher prices, then price is too high, then rely on more import, then farming is more less viable, then all farmers quits, then no more farming industries in Australia, then you end up with un fresh imported produces.

                • @kfcfatfat: If they are incapable of running a sustainable business they should do something else.

                  Droughts, while devastating, are a part of the business of farming.

        • +4

          The owner needs to offer permanent work at decent pay. Why would you risk losing your small income stream for a very risky higher income stream that will disappear in a month or two, and then you have to go through the long long fight to get Centrelink again and maybe lose your accommodation as you can't pay rent.

        • +1

          well it wasn't this guy

          Sarith Kit was a manager at Vizzarri Farms at Koo Wee Rup, where 89 workers were found during a 2016 raid by police and border authorities.

          Of those, 61 were in Australia illegally and 28 had visas that didn't let them work.

          Women received $14 an hour and men $15 an hour at the vegetable farm. The award hourly rate at the time was more than $22.

          dunno about cents paid on Jobseeker but

          'Mirvac racked up more than $20 billion in sales over the past six years and paid not a skerrick in income tax.

          It also racked up profits through the pandemic, but that has not stopped the property juggernaut from helping itself to the government’s JobKeeper scheme too; gorging itself on a public subsidy that was intended only for companies that suffered a large fall in turnover.

          Like dozens of other companies on the ASX – as demonstrated in the interim profit reporting season which draws to a close today – this profitable $10 billion company has grabbed the subsidy while having the cheek to pay large dividends to its shareholders ($305 million is the latest) and lavish salaries to its executives.

          Others have paid part of their JobKeeper back; very few have paid back all of it. Yet, failing to demonstrate even a shred of integrity, Mirvac and its auditors PwC have grifted the lot, some $22 million in JobKeeper but zero paid back.

          It’s even worse than it looks. Mirvac was the first to be outed for rorting Jobkeeper here last May when the scheme first kicked off. A young manager at one of the group’s retail centres told us she was asked to fill out a JobKeeper application form after she was fired.'

          I'm assuming she didn't want to be rorted again picking fruit and veg…. but thats my opinion only…

        • For what it’s worth i was told it’s very easy to stay on jobseeker etc, fake a few job apps, show up to interviews drunk or stoned, whatever.

          Don't you still have to do dole work once a year or you get kicked off? Or at least that's what I've been told….plus the money isnt that great, what $250 a week? Pfft…. Maybe if it was $1000 a week, I might apply and be a dole bludger….

    • +5

      On of the things they don't mention about government payments and seasonal work is that once you are off a payment it can take a long time to get it back and you won't get backdated payments either. I would prefer a system that allowed workers to maintain their payments in exchange for a higher PayG withholding to allow the government to balance it out at tax time.

      • +6

        Yeah, the way these tracey grimshaw led libs have it, even if you have declared income for a short period they average it out and boom robodebt

    • +2

      Local unemployed are unemployed because they are generally unmotivated types and receive adequate government allowances to fund their lifestyle. Fruit picking farms don't want unmotivated easily bored young people. Days are long and the work can be quite physically demanding.

      So to put this differently, these farms want people who will:

      • work long hours
      • do physically demanding work
      • have no job security
      • do boring work
      • do all of the above for wages which are unattractive compared to the pittance ($300/week) people can get from JobSeeker

      Gee, why would they have trouble attracting workers? I don't think you have to be 'unmotivated' to see what a terrible deal that is. Offer people $35/hour plus super with guaranteed minimum work hours across the season and see how it goes…

      • +1


  • +3

    Lol. How much income tax do you think fruit pickers pay? Au tax rates are 0% on the first $18k (actually quite a bit higher due to offsets).

    • +7

      I too, would like to see unemployed people enjoy the dilemma of being sexually assaulted and paid shit for picking fruit versus barely able to afford rent, food, etc while living in fear of benefits being lowered further and robodebt'd. It must feel good to kick poor people even harder!

      • -2

        sexually assaulted

        Cherry picking isolated incidents and applying them to everyone does not help.

        This work is an opportunity for them to be productive members of society, continuing to feed them money for doing nothing just enables further sloth.

        It must feel good to kick poor people even harder!

        Its about taking the harder road to lift them up, make them employable.

        • +5

          This work is an opportunity for them to be productive members of society, continuing to feed them money for doing nothing just enables further sloth.

          Funny how FIFO miner jobs are in high demand vs temporary short-term fruit-picking jobs. Why punish unemployed for not taking jobs with cheapskates and the occasional sexual assault? Why not blame the farmers?

          Its about taking the harder road to lift them up, make them employable.

          It's about punishing people who won't choose to suffer.

        • +4

          Ok, if you really, really want to make them employable, rather than give them a few months of low paid work thats incredibly disruptive to their lives, find out what's going on with their lives that is stopping from achieving and remove the barriers.

          If theres a physical health problem, get them better support through the health system.
          If theres a mental health problem, get them the therapy and support they need.
          Train them for a job they will actually do the rest of their lives, not just the first one available. Dont send them to resume writing courses, send them to tafe/uni/trade school.
          Raise the amount of money they receive so they don't have to choose between eating or paying rent. Give them enough money to afford prescriptions, check ups, and clothes that aren't 5 years old.

          These are all these things are pretty basic to people who have grown up with support and privilege, but are seen as impossibilities for people fighting generational disadvantage.

          Build equity, and watch people succeed.

      • +4

        Not to mention kicking them out of their homes and support networks to move hundreds of KMs away for a job that will last a few months at most.

  • +15

    Picking fruit and or being a farmer was my dream job when I was younger.

    The reality is for the most it's just not worth it. Fuel, equipment and accommodation.

    Some apple farm at I think was at Applethorpe or Stanthorpe years ago. When I was a lot younger when I really looked into it weekly accommodation was $500 per week paid in advance for a spot in a shed with at least 10 other people.
    The shed included luxuries of "limited hot water, shared gender showers and electricity until 9pm."
    Income was quota based most fruit picked higher income lowest got bugger all. So the slowest person could potentially loose money by agreeing to show up.

    I spent hours and weeks looking up different produce in different states on different websites/forums etc over several years. That's why I can remember it so clearly now.
    Someone must have a decent wage they must have but they just didn't. That was when my dream died I was shattered.
    I didn't want to live in million $ mansion but I also didn't want to live in a dirt hole either. Being away from family/friends never bothered me. As long as the farm had a friendly cat/dog that was enough contact for me.

    As far as I'm aware nothing has changed since. Where and why could the change had happened?
    Until fruit costs more resulting in farmers getting a much better price so they don't have to cheapskate on labour costs. Until then nothing will change.
    Farmers on TV recently skated around the wage issue. "It's cheaper to let the produce rot. We need foreign workers now."

    • +11

      Its amazing seeing the contrast with people who have actually tried it and know the reality of how unrewarding it is.

      And the scumbags who are willing to tell people to abandon their friends/family/lifestyles to get less than minimum wage and live in awful conditions paying board equivalent to a flat in Sydney or Melbourne.

      The 2 speed economy in this country is leading to delusional and disconnected upper middle class.

    • +1

      Farmers can't really up the price unless we have tariffs.

      USA oranges, beef from Argentina, kiwi fruit from Italy…

      It's a global market, there are very few goods which cannot be imported across international borders - fresh milk and fresh eggs come to mind. Even those goods are offer very low margins to the producers.

  • +4

    I can see a past post from you.

    I think you already answered your own question with your own post "Is Centrelink Giving out Money Too Easily These Days? Do We Need Tighter Laws to Prevent Centrelink Fraud?".

  • +7

    Nothing in the economy makes any sense right now. Down is up and right is left.

    Low migration, increasing unemployment, and lockdowns causing whole industries to suffer? Must be time for the biggest real estate boom this country has ever seen!

    It's clown economics right now.

    • +1


      Seeing reserve price at property auctions above the upper part of the range and people are still buying them like it is going to run out.

    • +1

      its clowns using the dead concept of economics to justify giving money away to the top end of town more like..

  • +1

    While the following is probably true "there is correlation between income tax level and employment rate", the following is almost definitely not true "there is causation between high income tax level and low unemployment rate". There are other factors too and we can't just pick statistics that convenience.

    Look at it this way. The lowest income tax rate in Australia is under 20%, and then 32.5%. If we remove those to 0, you are essentially getting at most 33% payrise. Minimum wages is at $20 per hour. Will an increase of $6.66 per hour move the needle? I doubt it. Are there other factors that play a role? Likely yes. More permanent employment (non seasonal). More comfortable lifestyle (you can't get comfort of big cities in rural areas). Risk factors and poor conditions. And so on.

    And while lower income tax level sounds great … will you be willing to sacrifice in other areas supported by our tax? (and no, I'm not just talking about Centrelink. I'm talking about everything - our public healthcare, our public education, etc)

  • +1

    So my whole family has picked fruit (sometimes just during school holidays) managed or owned farms at some stage of our life. The money actually used to be pretty good a lot of farms actually provided free basic accommodation. You would get paid by the KG and most places would let you eat as much as you like (not the best idea with cherries). We knew it was seasonal work and there was a travel path, which pretty much means you could work your way around Australia. So for years they worked during whatever fruit picking season there was and they made enough money to live off in the off season. The main problem now is that the farms aren’t family owned anymore, they are run by big companies who are only interested in making the big $$$$, they bring in cheap backpackers to save money. I also think the problem is that we have people who just don’t want to work and think of the dole as being a lifestyle choice. Once the government brings in the basics card, you will have people who want to finally work.

    • +8

      I have NEVER made one single comment on any post here in around 8 years. But as far as that Basics card is concerned it is nothing more than a money laundering tool for the Liberal party. Originally setup by Larry Anthony son of Doug Anthony ex federal government Minister. Stargroup affiliate INDUE has mainly LNP shareholders and INDUE itself charges up to $10k per card in administration fees. And the "big companies" that own the farm's now? Mining companies (Rinehart)and political parties. As usual Liberal governments siphoning money. 35 years of working in a government department you get a lot of emails meant for others.

      • +9

        On liberal siphoning money.

        It appears like small government but they hire a lot of consultants from consulting firms at massive daily rates. Literally buying a job for themselves after leaving the public service.

        • yes but those media influencers paid for by the Liberals make a lot of comments here…

          • -1


            media influencers paid for by the Liberals make a lot of comments here

            lol no mate, they're just absolute SIMPs for the LNP. Unironically and without pay!

          • @petry: Have you ever seen or dealt with children who have no food because their parents drink, gamble or do drugs. I have seen first hand how bad some people are. Maybe there is faults with the way it’s set up but there is also an upside. My son left teaching because he felt his hands were tied and he couldn’t help these kids, it was heartbreaking watching kids come to school in the same dirty clothes, no school bag and they would go through bins looking for food. Please try and make this about politics because that’s so much more important than caring about these kids. By the way i usually pick who I vote for after hearing what they are offering as a candidate, I don’t just blindly follow one party.

            • @Mythreesons: society and social order is the result of politics, and policies needed to sustain an equitable community.

              apparently you believe that social order is the result of something else.

              what is that something else?

              when governments passed laws to protect all political candidates from all penalties when lying outright about everything they write and say, and everyone said that's fine, it could only result in one thing - the end of communities and a inevitable rise in social disorder.

              You get what you allowed to happen. All the bent pollies appointing their bent mates and screwing everyone over, giving tax money to the rich and powerful - why on earth do you think that's how it is now on a massive scale?

              stick to believing liars and attack those that don't - you know it makes sense!

              • @petry: I have worked my butt off to make sure my children never have to live like I did as a child, I have raised them to believe they can be and do anything they want, I don’t blame the government for my upbringing or the way current members of my family or community are raising their children. You obviously have never been in the position of not knowing if you will have food, electricity or even a house to live in and I am happy that you haven’t, but I can tell you if the government had made these people pay rent, bills and had to spend money on food my siblings and myself would have had a lot better lives. My brother and I made sure our kids were raised better, my sister on the other hand is exactly the same and her poor children suffered because of it and have already started repeating it with their own children. It’s a vicious circle and it won’t stop until something extreme is done about it.

                • -1

                  @Mythreesons: you know nothing about me - I am not the topic .

                  you apparently wanna stop all welfare payments because you think

                  1. your right
                  2. you feel entitled to tell anyone who they are, etc.

                  Clearly not all disabled people cannot look themselves, or go picking, and personal choice to go picking is irrelevant to you.

                  you have no interest in facts only in personal attacks for reasons of your own.

  • -2

    Make welfare payments based on quantity picked if we want local pickers.

    Otherwise this form of welfare can go to the south pacific nations who appreciate it and desperately need it.

    The last thing we want is to make fruit and vegies more expensive, I reckon this works well.

    • +4

      The last thing we want is to make fruit and vegies more expensive

      You'd rather a $5 smashed avo instead of an $8 smashed avo, I see.

      I'd much rather pay anyone a decent wage, I couldn't give a damn if my $1 bag of carrots doubles in price

      • Somehow in 2020 we had bushfires, drought and a pandemic and the prices for fresh food barely budged. There's something seriously wrong with how much we're prepared to pay for veggies compared to everything else, one decent steak costs more than all the fruit, grain and veggies I buy a week.

        The main risk though is we'd simply lose our carrot market. Australia is an exporter of carrots at the moment but plenty of cheap carrots dominate the global market - China produces about half of the worlds carrots. While it doesn't sound like much, that's tens of millions of dollars lost in exports if we lose our local market.

        Our carrots wouldn't double in price, they'd simply be picked by underpaid farm labour in another country. Which is why the government is so hesitant to do anything about it despite the obvious abuses, it wouldn't mean my Australian carrots cost $2, it would mean my Chinese carrots would cost $1.20.

      • Plus send welfare to the islands. Okay, I guess we have plenty of cash to splash around.

  • +3

    Probably because these jobs don't pay squat. They'd rather whinge about not having enough workers (read: we want more cheap labour) than pay an adequate amount. It's not like most of them are family farms doing it tough either, they're large corporations who give big bonuses to execs.

  • +1

    You may be onto something but that's only part of it. There are tax breaks for people working in some remote areas but it comes at the end of the tax year which means it doesn't get into the pay packet week to week and often (in many cases substandard) accommodation is subsidised by employers so the tax break doesn't apply to that part. The whole rural and agricultural employment ecosystem is outdated and needs serious reform. A different tax rate for workers in places or industries that are short of workers would make a difference BUT ALSO decent wages to begin with which is another big part of the equation. You'd think with all the data gathering and technology of today the government could tweak things when required to help people in ANY sector be better rewarded for what is often extremely hard work in a tough environment. If they can increase jobseeker and create jobkeeper for a pandemic then surely a similar model could be replicated for any industry that needs some help.

  • +1

    Australia is unique, being a high wage country with strong borders - being an island.

    There isn't a population of "undocumented workers" to exploit, hence unskilled labour and blue collar work commands high wages.

    Nothing to do with taxes, just like adding GST on imports didn't suddenly revive our retail sector.

    If you want lower taxes, the things that those taxes pay for needs to come from somewhere else. Are you proposing we increase taxes for the rich, or cut services for the poor?

    • +1

      Sometimes cutting taxes generates more economic growth and I don’t mean for the rich. The bottom of the pile spend their extra income which stimulates the economy and if it creates production then it’s a double win so it doesn’t have to come from somewhere else necessarily. It’s not a pie. Investing in the economy is like investing in business. Without investment where would business be? It can be the same for investing in workers having more to spend.

  • +10

    Plenty of locals would be happy to do farm work, but farmers won't employ them because they can't exploit them, underpay them, rip them off and threaten to have them deported.


    • That’s been the model that governments have allowed to go on. If the pandemic has taught is anything it’s that a mew model may be required. See my earlier post.

  • +2

    Jeeze the farmers really like a whinge hey.

  • +3

    For $60 per hour with free accommodation and food, I would do it.

    • But would you do it well and at a $60 an hour productive rate?

      • +4

        After 10,000 hours I should be a expert

  • +7

    Tried to get work in SA doing picking. Even on newstart with $1000 bonus couldn't get employed. It's a shifty industry. You'd be surprised at the crap I excuses you'd get as to why they can't hire you. Try, "Don't want dolies" for one.

  • +3

    I knew a Filipino family whose Dad was on a 457 visa, they were trapped without work. They tried picking strawberries, after 5 hours they made 20 bucks because they were slow and treated like crap by management. They gave up after one day. Farmers built this rep and they are paying for it. They need to find a way to Automate it and hire a full timer.

    • +1

      Farmers built this rep and they are paying for it. They need to find a way to Automate it and hire a full timer.

      No, they need to change their behaviour or they need to be replaced by better farmers.

  • +5

    It is the greed of these farmers that became their own downfall. Now they have to toss out most bc they grew too big.
    It is a load of crap… they export 80% yet proclaim shortage will affect domestic market. whilst they still export

  • +4

    Let the free market solve this problem, either increase wages to meet expectations for labour intensive work and renegotiate contracts with Colesworth or retire on the money gained from exploiting temporary workers and foreigners

  • +2

    Australia unemployment rate stands at 5.9%

    It has been confirmed again and again that percentage means little to nothing.
    It is just a statistical figure manipulated by statistician to virtually always be around the "5% +- 1%". Give and take. During early COVID everyone estimated 16% (remember the queues at Centrelink?) … ABS got a magic 6 (?) something instead.

    When it is not the ridiculous one hour of paid work per fortnight to count as employed it is the "seasonally adjusted" percentage … to always get a figure of in and around 5%

    Why does anyone even look at that fantasy, fairy tale, fabricated figure?????

    • +1

      Yes, under employment is a big issue. Just look at how many people are driving Uber would give a good indication.

    • Enemployment peaked at 7.5%. Yes, I remember the queues, which lasted very briefly (only a few weeks) before unemployment rates dropped again and many things returned to normal.

      What point exactly are you arguing?

      • What point exactly are you arguing?

        Please read my self explanatory post.

        What part you do not understand?

        Or is it that you don't "like" those facts?

        Business still closing down might indicate how "very briefly (only a few weeks)" those struggling are in.

  • Australia is a very high income tax country. You pay pretty much the same taxes whether you have no dependency or a wife and 3 kids. Income tax returns claims should be submitted as a family unit if you have a family and your income taxes based on your household…. hence why i moved to a low income tax country with high income and very low income taxes - around 15%, with guranteed gov pension when I retire. And the gov here doesnt go around telling its citizens how lucky they have it.

    • where is that?

      • +2

        Stomae's location is WA, so I assume that WAXIT was successful.

    • "hence why i moved to a low income tax country"
      And where might that be?

      • Either Singapore or the ME countries I'd wager.

      • Switzerland

    • +1

      We really do have it incredibly lucky. If you have a problem was Australia's tax rate, there's probably something wrong.. with you, not the tax system.

      • +1

        tell it to the dead robodebt victims…

  • +3

    Nope. Simple supply vs demand. Ag business doesn’t want to pay enough to meet the market, that is, enough to make it worthwhile for people to
    uproot their life.

  • +5

    Just FYI Australian Agriculture is literally a token business which profits from overseas exports while giving little to no benefit to the Australian economy. They get the rebates because the Coalition relies on their votes. Market gardeners on the other hand i respect as they do lots of the labour themselves within the family.

    The entire farm industry isn't actually that poor. Many farmers are multi millionaires. The whole idea that the government subsidises loss making farms so they can export offshore and profit is nonsensical. Don't get me started on the million dollar trust fund bank where they can effectively bank any profits tax free for a rainy day.

    And when they get their below minimum wage labour cut off everything falls apart. It's because they can take food and accommodation allowance out of the picker's pay and they can do nothing about it, let alone the fact that the government lobbyists made it mandatory to do to get a visa extension.

    The whole system smells of taking advantage of tax breaks to keep producing barley etc for China.

    • +1

      Just FYI Australian Agriculture is literally a token business which profits from overseas exports while giving little to no benefit to the Australian economy.

      You do realise it is a net exporter industry because we produce way more than we need locally right? The Australian Agri industry employs a lot of people in this country, a lot more than people realise.

      The whole idea that the government subsidises loss making farms

      Agree. Poorly run farms with bad practices should not be supported. However farms that prepare themselves for drought, then have a tough time getting through it need to be supported. Remember the government supports a lot of loss making businesses in all industries (I mean just look at the likes of Alcoa for a recent example) it isn't just farmers.

      Don't get me started on the million dollar trust fund bank where they can effectively bank any profits tax free for a rainy day.

      Many companies use this structure and remember, the tax saved at the trust level is offset by the tax payable at the unit holder level. In the Ag space you WANT farmers to save their profits for a rainy day, farms simply cannot produce consistent profits for 5-10 years at a time because the global weather patterns don't allow for that. So it is beneficial to incentivize them to hold onto cash instead of getting crazy expansion ideas (which they do get) to go out and buy new property or get into risky higher margin ventures that require a lot of capex. Most farmers get unstuck when they are at year 4 or 5 into a la nina cycle then gear up their business with tight cash flow right before el nino hits.

      when they get their below minimum wage labour cut off everything falls apart.

      Agreed. The smaller or poorer business practices farmers are the ones crying foul at the moment. The well managed farms started working on this problem in April last year. They haven't had it easy, but they didn't bury their heads in the sand until Spring came around wishing that COVID would just go away. The government are the people that need to police this better and enforce better conditions and pay.

  • +4

    Simple economics, if you want workers when no one wants the job then pay more or improve conditions. I'll pick fruit for $2k a week.

    Farmers want the best of both works, and last i checked the LNP were the supposed proponents of free market economics - well here it is.

  • +2

    you reap what you sow

    'Australia has used a so-called "backpacker tax" to illegally tax foreign workers from eight countries, according to a landmark ruling.

    In 2017, the government imposed a controversial 15% tax rate on two visa categories for working holiday-makers.

    But a court on Wednesday found the levy was in breach of existing treaties with the UK, US, Germany, Finland, Chile, Japan, Norway and Turkey.

    Tens of thousands of foreign nationals may be owed money, local media said'

    and then came covid…. wonder if they ever paid those taxes back….

  • Culture is different

    Cleaning jobs get paid well in Oz while most third world pays poorly

    HK a lot of families have maids from Indo and Philippines to the care of children very cheap. Unheard of in Oz… Just take to childcare or stay at home because sometimes getting a job makes the family income worse off

    Nobody wants to pick fruit

  • +2

    "Is Australia's high personal income taxes and consequently low take-home pay the cause why Australians would rather go on jobkeeper/jobseeker rather than seek gainful employment"
    No is the simple answer. The data does not support that proposition. The vast majority for people want to work and not just because of the income. There is a small percentage that abuse the system and we waste billions trying to weed them out. Just like any other system there are always the " dicks " who scam it.
    Oh and if the fruit growers want to attract staff who are not backpackers looking for some pocket money to help them have good time when travelling or people from low wage countries they might try paying decent wages - it works a treat.

  • +2
    1. True unemployment rate is way higher, as ppl are counted as employed if work just 1 hour, plus those who don't qualify for dole are not counted even if looking for work.
    2. Aussies can't get work picking fruit. Farmers only want to hire overseas workers who are easier to exploit. Try it and see!!! Everytime I put my hand up for picking fruit, no reply whatsoever. And yes, I have applied more than once, via several channels.
  • +1

    More really, really bad articles about this subject by ABC. You can really tell the LNP are pulling the strings here, its hard to believe ABC would ever publish such absolute trash about a topic

    • +1

      no its not anymore

  • bring back the good old days of Blackbirding convict labour and the enforcement of Pastoral rights .Wait we now have honest Labour Hire

  • +1

    If I move to a country side to become a fruit picker, I will have to give up on whatever I have been building up until now.

    No offence to anyone, that kind of physical job requires skill sets completely different to what other jobs require. I bet it's not something who has spent their entire life, working in an air conditioned room could easily get accustomed to.

    I have worked in a warehouse and my job was physically demanding. It took me about 6 months, before I could at least stay up and do something reasonably productive after work. Until then after I showered I needed to take a nap for at least 2 hours. I have seen managers from head office come out and sweating crazily because of the heat. They probably deal with stress and frustrations that come from dealing with people etc etc which would drive me insane. The point I am trying to make is, the skill set requirement for both jobs are completely different.

    You might as well do something that earns money really isn't the best argument when that something requires you to completely abandon the skill sets you've been developing and relocate.

    • +1

      Yep. This mindset only makes sense in the context of a primarily physical labor based economy, but most Australians are educated and equipped for mental labor.

      Perhaps warehouse guys or tradies could pick fruit pretty easily, but those jobs aren't actually in short supply really.

      Not to mention the obscene costs of packing up your entire house and moving out to a farm only to be unemployed again in 2 months time when the season ends.

      • Yeah, I think fruit pickers are not something a lot of people could think of doing for life. That kind of drastic changes I feel really requires some form of reasonably long term solutions to problems such as career pathway, money, etc.

        Not saying someone who's done university degree can't do a manual work. During holiday seasons, we had to hire few people part time, and some of them had qualifications that made me go, why aren't you tutoring at uni instead? That said, that was a temporary job that was available during holidays.

  • +5

    Send the army to do it. They are already being paid for being on standby. Working conditions can't be worst than going to war, if it is than its a great way to train them up for war.

  • I'm not sure if creating a larger deficit and cutting government funding will fix the fruit picking issue.

  • Let the free market decide