More than 1,000 workers will benefit from additional accommodation, transport and support services in the state’s major horticulture regions, with the first grant recipients of the Victorian Government’s $6 million Seasonal Workforce Accommodation Program (SWAP) announced.
The Cobram and District Fruit Growers’ Association (CDFGA) has received $430,000 to support 30 farm businesses in the Cobram region to attract and provide for the workforce they need. The grant will ensure up to 500 workers will have suitable accommodation and transport, in a COVIDSafe environment.
In the Sunraysia Mallee region, up to 600 workers will be supported with a grant for the Sunraysia Mallee Ethnic Communities Council (SMECC). This not-for-profit organisation has received $450,000 to provide pastoral care to workers from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds.
The grant will support communication of COVIDSafe regulations, connection to community support and faith leaders, accommodation and transport advice, education, driver education, employment assistance, youth engagement and play groups.
The SWAP provides financial support for regional organisations and communities to deliver COVIDSafe accommodation, transport and support services for seasonal horticultural workers.
SWAP is helping organisations overcome common barriers that prevent local jobseekers from taking up seasonal work such as a lack of accommodation.
SWAP is one part of the Victorian Government’s support for industry and farm employers as they adapt to meet the challenges bought about by the coronavirus pandemic.
This support includes more than $27 million in assistance for farm businesses and communities which has helped businesses attract local workers.
Source: Vic Government