Our agriculture sector in the Parkes electorate is facing high pressure on labour supply as a result of COVID-19. There are many farmers in my electorate urgently seeking workers for harvest - that's why I'm pleased with a key initiative in the 2020 Budget that will help address the issue.
The Australian Government is investing $33.7 million to support farmers by encouraging and incentivising Australians to take a 'domestic gap year' and eligible temporary visa holders to work in the ag sector this harvest season.
Through the 2020 Budget, the Government is investing $17.4 million in relocation support and $16.3 million in temporary Youth Allowance and ABSTUDY eligibility changes to incentivise people to take up seasonal farm work.
- Relocation allowances of up to $6,000 for Australians and up to $2,000 for eligible visa holders will be available from 1 November to undertake seasonal work in ag. This will be available to people who relocate to harvest and regional areas to take up at least six weeks of ag work, including Australians who are not receiving income support.
- Under the Youth Allowance and ABSTUDY new criteria, a person who earns $15,000 through employment in the agricultural sector in regional Australia between 30 November 2020 and 31 December 2021 will be considered as independent for the purpose of YA (student) or ABSTUDY.
These changes will support critical food production and will help ensure ag continues to play a key role in our economic recovery.
Backing our Indigenous students
I'm proud this year's Federal Budget delivers immediate support for more Indigenous Australian students, through $39.8 million over four years for the Clontarf Foundation.
I'm a strong advocate for the Clontarf Foundation, which helps young Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander men to attend school, finish Year 12 and enter employment.
This includes $7.6 million through the Indigenous Advancement Strategy for 2,000 extra scholarships, on top of the 10,500 scholarships currently offered under existing arrangements.
Recently I met with Robert Clements, Clontarf Foundation Regional Manager Central West NSW; Chad Parkes, Employment Officer and Malakai Gibbs, Alumni. It was wonderful to chat about some of the excellent work the Clontarf Foundation is doing for students in my electorate.
Holiday Here This Year
Aussies are being urged to plan and book a COVID-safe holiday in different parts of the country as part of a new domestic tourism push aimed at providing a much-needed boost to our cities, tourism regions, airlines and tourism businesses.
Whether it's the traditional Aboriginal fish traps at Brewarrina, the historic city of Broken Hill and nearby village of Silverton, the iconic Taronga Western Plains Zoo in Dubbo, Warialda's Cranky Rock legend or the energising Moree Plains Artesian Pools, there is plenty on offer for those who choose to explore the Parkes electorate.
Starring two iconic homegrown personalities, Hamish Blake and Zoe Foster-Blake, the new Tourism Australia campaign Holiday Here This Year is focussed on encouraging Australians to plan and book trips where it is safe and possible to do so.
Tourism employs one in 13 Australians and is the backbone of so many businesses across Australia. As restrictions continue to ease, there's no better time to visit our regions and support local businesses. More information on the campaign can be found at: www.australia.com/holidayhere