Many employers in the agriculture sector experience difficulties in recruiting sufficient employees from the local workforce market to meet the demands of the cropping and harvesting cycles.

In Tasmania, this impacts fruit picking, berry planting and picking, as well as planting and harvesting of vegetable crops. To address the shortfall in the local workforce, the Australian Government introduced the Pacific Australia Labour Mobility (PALM) scheme.

The PALM scheme is managed by the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) and the Department of Employment and Workplace Relations for Tasmanian farmers the seasonal workers are a critical factor in getting their harvest off in time. Already competing with seasonal and weather conditions to have some certainty in being able to engage adequate workforce to optimise the harvest is a significant stressor for farmers.

Tasmania has experienced increasing housing shortages and escalating rents making it difficult for anyone to access accommodation. The potential for seasonal workers to be exploited is increasingly real. There have been examples of overcrowding within residential properties on the North West coast of Tasmania in recent years.

Having access to quality accommodation and caring landlords helps ensure the safety, stability, and continuity of regular seasonal workers, some of whom have been coming each year for 10 years, and many of them were stuck in Australia for 3 years during the Covid pandemic.

The employment service revealed that the farmers cannot praise Due South’s high standard of accommodation enough. The farmers sleep well when they know their workers are in Due South accommodation. The standard of accommodation is the best in Australia, and Due South treat the workers like people, not just dollar signs.

The facilities that Due South provide for seasonal workers is the same accomodation used for the veterans and first responders – There is nothing taken out or changed in between groups. Seasonal workers have the same high standard of accommodation, and they receive the same kind and generous care from Due South as the veterans and first responders do.

For employers, to know that their seasonal employees have high standard, stable and safe accommodation with Due South as landlords who see the workers as people not just dollar signs, gives the farmer a sense of relief enabling them to relax knowing that the workers are not going to be exploited or mistreated, and that they are far more likely to become stable employees.

Due South have provided the optimum accommodation standard in the North West Coast. It is a win for the workers, a win for the farmers, a win for the government, a win for the workers families back home, a win for Due South, and a win for veterans and first responders.

Seasonal workers could not speak highly enough of the way that Due South treated them and the way they ensure that they are cared for and supported within high standard residences and facilities, with no overcrowding, no tolerance for overcrowding, and with genuine concern for the seasonal worker wellbeing – “It’s all the little things that they do for the workers as fellow human beings that make all the difference for the seasonal worker, the farmer, and the employment service” and in doing so enables Due South to support our veterans and first responders across Australia through wellness initiatives here on the North West Coast of Tasmania.

For Due South, having their facilities occupied by seasonal workers during the peak season provides an income model that enables that same accommodation to be used during the off-season for veteran and first responder wellness initiatives.

This is a critical piece of the Due South self-funding model through private enterprise allowing all funds generated through the charity model to go directly to wellness initiatives, which over time will be expanded.

The accommodation is also available for private bookings for local and interstate sporting or recreational community groups visiting Tasmania for group events to be housed during their stay in Tasmania.

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