The NSW Government introduced a number of initiatives to ease labour shortage pressures in the agricultural industry this month, but a Batlow apple grower says he's not certain they will be very effective.
From Monday, fully vaccinated people from overseas will be able to enter NSW, something which Minister for Agriculture Adam Marshall said was "a fantastic opportunity to bolster the state's agricultural workforce".
But NSW Farmers Federation member and apple grower Greg Mouat was not full of confidence the arrivals would be keen to hit the paddock.
"It depends how well the government sells it to them," he said.
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Mr Mouat said he wouldn't need an influx of workers until the autumn picking season, but even by then he was unsure if there'd be enough international arrivals to make a difference.
"I'd be skeptical if we're going to get an influx of backpackers early next year," he said.
"I think people are probably a bit skeptical about flying at the moment and coming to others countries so I think flights will be quite expensive while I think some of the airlines try to recoup some of the losses that they've incurred.
"So my thoughts on that is that I don't think we're going to see the level of backpackers that we have in the past.
"So it just remains to be seen if those gaps can be filled by I believe Tongans and Samoans and people from Vanuatu."
Earlier this month, Mr Marshall also announced 4500 Department of Regional NSW staff would be able to have five days of harvest leave this year in an attempt to support the state's farmers.
"There is no silver bullet to solve the COVID-exacerbated workforce shortage, but this is another step we are implementing to support industry," he said.
But Mr Mouat was again skeptical.
"Unless they have a reasonable work ethic and a reasonable level of fitness then I think they've got to be prepared that it is not necessarily hard work, but it is consistent and constant work," he said.
"They have to really be of a mindset that allows them to knuckle down ... I like the idea, I think it's a great thing, but whether it will be any good I don't know."
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