HECS discount to incentivise fruit picking as season's crops hang in the balance

With fruit and vegetable crops on the line, Liberal MP Julian Leeser says the Coalition has proposed a HECS discount for Australian students who work in the fresh produce industry in a bid to help struggling farmers.

The agriculture industry relies on backpackers who join the fruit-picking workforce at an estimated worth of $13 billion.

Mr Leeser said “150,000 working holidaymakers and foreign backpackers at the beginning of the year has dropped to approximately 70,000 due to the coronavirus”.

He encouraged Aussie students who were planning on taking a gap year and traveling abroad to look for work in regional Australia saying, “too often Australians see Berlin before they see Bundaberg”.

“One of the things that we know about Australia as a destination for people who are doing working holidaymaker type work, is that we are the most popular destination in the entire OECD.

“I think that it’s important that Australians who live in the cities have an understanding of what life is like in the country and have a better understanding of agriculture,” he said.

Image: News Corp Australia