Sea­sonal work­ers rel­ish op­por­tu­nity

Central and North Burnett Times - - THE FENCE POST - Noel Thomp­son noel.thomp­

OVER­SEAS work­ers are start­ing to ar­rive in our towns, from places near and far.

The lo­cal fruit pro­duc­ers wel­come them with open arms, the pack­ing sheds could not get the pro­duce out of their sheds with­out them.

The for­eign work­ers’ wives and chil­dren will miss them but the re­ward for ev­ery­one out­weighs all.

Cer­afin Da­cunha from East Ti­mor is in Mun­dub­bera thin­ning man­darins and he says the work will change the life of his fam­ily and for him.

“I have worked as a se­cu­rity guard in East Ti­mor most of my work­ing life,” Mr Da­cunha said.

“I am work­ing here on a six-months Pa­cific Worker Pro­gram – it will change my life.”

Many of the work­ers who come to Aus­tralia can earn 10 times what they do in their own coun­try.

Also from East Ti­mor, Ernes Dacarelho said he had just fin­ished univer­sity where he stud­ied agri­cul­ture.

“Com­ing here to work don’t only give me the chance to earn some money, it gives me great ex­pe­ri­ence in my fu­ture job in farm­ing,” he said.

“This six months here will let me pay for fur­ther stud­ies.”

Cen­tral Fruit Pack­ers in Mun­dub­bera em­ploys up to 40 Ton­gan work­ers in the height of the cit­rus sea­son work­ing for six months, side-by-side with 60 lo­cals and back­pack­ers when needed.

Com­ing from France for his first time in Aus­tralia, Wil­lie Clamnt was thin­ning cit­rus last week and said he just loved the heat and the job.

“Back in France it is freez­ing at the mo­ment and the hot weather in Aus­tralia is won­der­ful,” Mr Clamnt said.

“I am here on a work­ing hol­i­day visa for six months and I will come back here again for sure.”

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