Online Community Engagement Software

Pacific Labour Scheme / Seasonal Worker Programme for Agriculture

Project overview

Queensland has opted into the Australian Government's recommencement of the Pacific Labour Scheme (PLS) and Seasonal Worker Programme (SWP) to address the expected labour shortage in agribusiness. Our main focus for meeting labour shortages is to attract and train Queenslanders. However, workforce shortages are still expected in this sector. The Department of Agriculture and Fisheries (DAF) leads the quaratine compliance for workers, supporting industry with their application processes.

This engagement hub has been set up to:

  • connect approved employers and prospective employers with information, as well as provide information to host community leaders and service providers
  • inform our clients with the latest news about the programme in Queensland ... check out the tab below
  • share experiences and information to support workers entering Queensland
  • publicise upcoming events
  • update with links to relevant COVID-19 information
  • enable clients and stakeholders to provide feedback.

There are three key requirements to participate in the PLS and SWP in Queensland:

  • Employers must be an approved employer and receive Australian Government approval for their recruitment plan.
  • Approved employers must receive Queensland Government approval for their recruitment plan. For on-farm or regional-facility quarantine, this plan must include an International Quarantine Plan endorsed by Queensland's Chief Health Officer.
  • Approved employers must coordinate with each other to ensure their proposals will fit within the cap on the total number of sites where workers are quarantined at any one time.

Approved employers will need to allow at least 10 weeks between lodging a recruitment proposal and the arrival of workers in Queensland—this is due to the high demand for workers across Australia and New Zealand, and the additional recruitment approvals due to COVID-19.

DAF regionally-based Agriculture Coordination Officers (ACO) and industry-based Queensland Agriculture Workforce Network (QAWN) officers are available to assist enterprises navigate the approval process. To contact your closest ACO or QAWN officer, ring DAF on 13 25 23 and they will make the connection.

Advice to Approved Employers: Christmas/New Year Quarantine Arrangements & Recruitment timelines

In line with the Pacific Labour Facility's Christmas Shutdown advice, Queensland will implement a no flight period for on-farm and regional quarantine from 6 December 2021. Queensland’s first flight post-Christmas/New Year will begin after 11 January 2022.

Changes to the quarantine requirements for quarantining workers under the PLS/SWP

From 24 August 2021, there are now additional requirements for Approved Employers who wish to bring workers into Queensland under the PLS/SWP programs. These additional requirements are contained in the new Seasonal Workers International Quarantine Plans and Checklist Direction and form part of the International Quarantine Plan (IQP) completed by the Approved Employer.

Catch up with our Approved Employers

2021 will go down as a birthday with a difference for Barrie Mackay from Mackays Bananas.

Barrie spent his special day in quarantine alongside 60 workers from Vanuatu who have come over through the Pacific Labour Scheme (PLS) to help meet labour shortages at Mackays Tully farm. 

While Barrie wanted a no-fuss birthday, the workers weren’t going to miss a chance to sing happy birthday and drape him in their national flag. They then presented him with a handmade garland using material sourced from the accommodation’s garden.  A special cake delivery at the daily food drop, organised by Barrie’s wife Nadia, was icing on his birthday celebrations.

The Queensland Government is coordinating quarantine requirements for employers seeking to bring agricultural workers into Queensland from low-risk Pacific Nations under the Pacific Labour Scheme/Seasonal Worker Program. Approved employers such as Mackays Bananas nominate the country the workers would come from, the proposed quarantine arrangements and where the workers will stay and work after quarantine. “The ability to access workers from our low-risk Pacific nations has certainly helped us out,” Barrie said. “Since our borders closed to manage the pandemic, we’ve been faced with challenges around workforce and there’s no silver bullet. As an industry, we will continue to need overseas workers, local workers and backpackers who are still in the country.”

Queensland was the first state to allow on-farm quarantine. And since October 2020, DAF has assisted with welcoming 3,000 workers who have completed quarantine.