The Australian Government is investing $16.3 million to support farmers by encouraging and incentivising Australians to take a ‘domestic gap year’ to work in the agriculture sector this harvest season.

“Our agriculture sector in Barker is facing unprecedented pressure on labour supply as a result of COVID-19” said Tony Pasin.

“Through the 2020 Budget, the Coalition Government is investing $16.3 million in temporary Youth Allowance and ABSTUDY eligibility changes to incentivise people to take up seasonal farm work this summer.

“Under changes to the Youth Allowance and ABSTUDY criteria, a person who earns $15,000 through employment in the agricultural sector in regional Australia between 30 November 2020 and 31 December 2021, whose parent’s have a combined income of less than $160,000 a year (plus $10,00 for each child), will be considered as independent for the purpose of Youth Allowance or ABSTUDY”.

“This will significantly reduce the time needed for a young person to gain ‘independent’ status and claim Youth Allowance or ABSTUDY faster than under the existing criteria” said Mr Pasin.

“These changes will support critical food production in Barker so that farm produce does not go to waste and will help ensure the agricultural sector continues to play a key role in our local community’s economic recovery.” Mr Pasin said.

The Australian Government is also investing a further $9 million in the Seasonal Worker Programme (SWP) to ensure employers can meet critical seasonal labour needs.

This funding will help ensure that the SWP has the resources to accommodate the significant growth of the program and ensure appropriate oversight of the program is in place to protect the welfare of workers.

The Australian Government has been working with farmers since the onset of COVID-19.

Measures already introduced to fill labour shortages in the agriculture sector:

  • providing visa extensions to allow temporary visa holders wishing to work in agriculture and for agriculture workers to stay with one employer for a longer period,
  • initiating a targeted recruitment trial under the Seasonal Worker Programme (SWP) for workers from Vanuatu;
  • providing Relocation Assistance to help cover the costs of relocation for employment for eligible Australians and visa holders.

In addition to the measures already rolled out to date, and announced in the budget, the Australian Government is continuing to look at how we can support our agriculture sector by ensuring farmers have access to the workers they need now and into the future.

More information on the additional support being provided can be found at: and

Vanessa Juergens (08) 85312466