Camp plan to ease harvest squeeze
A PILOT project to be rolled out at the Grove Research Station could help address seasonal worker accommodation for the state’s horticultural industry.
The State Government is working with the Huon Valley Council and private operator Oak Possibility to get the project started.
A development application has been lodged with the council and if approved, the project will provide additional camping spaces for seasonal workers in the Huon Valley during peak harvest season from December to February.
The site is located near two major packing sheds and in the heart of the Valley’s fruitgrowing region.
Fruit Growers Tasmania chief executive officer Stuart Burgess said if successful the government and private partnership approach could be used across the state.
“It’s not a one size fits all and I think that’s the key to it.
“There are a number of ways growers around the state have gone about finding suitable accommodation for their workers and some of those include camping sites with some facilities.”
The Government has been working with Oak Possibility, which leases the site from the Government, the council and fruit growers.
Seasonal workers play a big role during peak fruit harvest season, with approximately 3500 to 4000 seasonal and itinerant workers required in the state’s South alone.
Mr Burgess said with the state's berry industry expanding finding accommodation for workers was an ongoing challenge.
Some berry operations provide on-site accommodation, while others use facilities nearby or backpacker accommodation. Mr Burgess said repurposing unused buildings in some areas may also be another option.