Liberal MP Julian Leeser says there is a national need to encourage Australian students to work as harvesters for struggling farmers, which is why a HECS discount has been introduced as an extra incentive.
It comes as the agriculture industry’s usual influx of backpackers who join the fruit-picking force at an estimated worth of $13 billion has been impeded by the coronavirus pandemic.
Accordingly, the Coalition has proposed a HECS discount for Australian students who work in the fresh produce industry in a bid to help struggling farmers.
“We’ve got a great country, and the working holiday maker experience is terrific,” Mr Leeser told Sky News host Peta Credlin.
“We heard stories that farmers are already pulling out their trees.
If farmers across the country are doing that, it will mean less money for the agricultural sector, it’ll mean less free exports, it’ll mean less fruit and vegetables on our shelves and it’ll mean higher prices.
“There’s a real national need to do something to encourage people to go and do this work.”
Image: News Corp Australia