|NSW Farmers is calling on the state and federal governments to deliver on their commitment to open the borders to all before Christmas.
“If we’re open for business then we should be open to everyone,” NSW Farmers President James Jackson said.
“More than 90 per cent of adults are double-vaccinated, flights are returning, and people are coming in from overseas, but we’re hearing backpackers are still at the back of the queue for visas.”
Working holiday maker visa holders – commonly referred to as “backpackers” – represent an important segment of the Australian tourism sector, injecting money into tourism, retail, transport, and hospitality, as well as providing invaluable labour to the agriculture sector. Backpackers stay longer and disperse further into regional Australia during their travel, bringing $946 million into regional economies during the year ending December 2019.
Farmers had been warning both the state and federal governments of a dire harvest outlook given the lack of workers available due to COVID restrictions, and Mr Jackson said it was time to bring the backpackers back.
“It is time for the government to let them in, it is a win-win solution to accelerate economic recovery in tourism, agriculture and regional NSW more broadly,” Mr Jackson said.
“Every day we delay a full reopening we’re hurting businesses and in turn hurting the broader economy.
“Australia is in a deep financial hole because of COVID, and we need to do everything we can to get businesses back to full operation to refill those coffers.”