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5 August, 2021

Strawberry fields forever

In need of good money? Looking for a job? Want to learn a new skill? Here’s why you should come and pick or pack with Queensland strawberries this winter

By Peter McCullagh

If you are over the lockdowns, the on and off nature of hospitality at the moment, Queensland Strawberries could hold the key to a ‘pick-change’ that could prove to be berry good for you.

Launching this week is a strawesome incentive package designed to encourage workers to get some fresh air and take home a nice pay-packet each week.

Firstly, there’s a whopping incentive of 10 x $100,000 cash prizes up for grabs for workers, an additional $1,500 cash payment from the Queensland Government in addition to excellent money earned on the farm picking.

Those are just a few of the many reasons why workers should come and join the Queensland Strawberries family, picking or packing this winter.

“As a farmer you are only ever looking forward and this year we’ve planted out our fields with the stubborn anticipation that COVID-19 would be under control by the time our peak harvest arrived in August.

“However, due to the recent outbreak in NSW and the associated border closures it leaves us with no choice but to appeal to the people of Queensland to get on a farm and get picking!” says Adrian Schultz, President of the Queensland Strawberry Growers’ Association (QSGA).

Back in April, in response to the forecast labour challenges, QSGA launched an industry first promotional activity to incentivise potential workers with the chance to play to win up to $100,000 in cash prizes, with 10 x $100,000 cash prizes on offer.

By late June, over 3,000 workers had signed up. With unseasonably cold conditions resulting in a very slow start to the harvest season, most of the participating farms had enough workers from the first batch of entrants for the promotion to get them through the early part of the harvest.

However, with the peak of the harvest starting in August the farmers are facing their biggest hurdle yet – to attract thousands more workers to sunny Queensland.

For workers needing more of an incentive, the Queensland Government will be offering a further $1,500 payment for each farm worker in the form of the #pickqld BONUS. It is available to anyone who is over the age of 16, new to farm work and has started on a Queensland farm since June 1, 2021.  After 10 days of farm work, you can receive the first $500 and then 30 days of work later another $1,000.

Mitchell Baker-Spence, a local 22-year-old worker from Pims Organic strawberry farm, says ‘The best part of picking strawberries is getting up, getting into it and then having the whole rest of the day to be able to do whatever I want. There’s also so many opportunities to go and do stuff around here, such as going to the beaches, climbing mountains, checking out waterfalls, going on bush walks – you name it. The whole area’s got so much to do in the winter.’

Jane Richter, Marketing Manager for QSGA says, “The promotion really aims to attract all kinds of workers to come and give farm work a go, with a view to staying at a single strawberry farm for the entire winter season.  The more weeks that a worker completes, the more promotional entry points they can earn. Ultimately, ten workers will go on to have the chance to win up to $100,000 each in October this year. And now that the #pickqld BONUS is also on offer what more encouragement do you possibly need to come and try farm work?”

So, if you're looking to explore Queensland, make good money and most importantly help the Queensland Strawberry industry this winter, then apply for work now via the website www.qldstrawberries.com.au.  This could be your lucky year!


 


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