A diverse range of pickers have arrived in the Goulburn Valley to help with the annual harvest.CATHY WALKER January 7, 2014 12:00am
There’s little guesswork in Vaughan Adams’ job.
He just has to watch the weather reports or read the agricultural news to follow how the fruit season is progressing and he can pretty much sum up how busy the CVGT Australia Harvest Labour Office will be.
‘‘We have one contract for the Shepparton and Cobram regions,’’ Mr Adams said.
As the company’s manager for Shepparton his bailiwick is much broader than just looking after fruit pickers.
But he said the backpackers, grey nomads and travelling Australian pickers that CVGT helps find a job are as regular as the seasons.
Mr Adams said Harvest Labour Office was open from November until May.
‘‘There are still some apricots being picked but at the moment it’s the calm before the storm,’’ he said.
The cycle goes something like this: cherries in November/December, apricots December for early January, peaches and pears late January and February and apples from February through to the late variety, Pink Lady, in May.
‘‘The apricot crop has been okay, a bit down on last year but probably back to a more normal year,’’ Mr Adams said.
On any given day, people seeking work are encouraged to show up early in the morning — the office opens at 8.30
‘‘They’re not only internationals, but 95 per cent of the people that come through the harvest office are backpackers,’’ Mr Adams said.
‘‘There are grey nomads looking to top up their income and good local people following the (picking) trail.
‘‘Anyone is welcome to come in and register.’’
Mr Adams said the job service was government-subsidised and was free both to growers and pickers, and the heavy emphasis on internationals was to be expected.
‘‘They don’t have a network whereas the experienced pickers pick for the same farms every year.’’
He said from the growers’ perspective it was a no-brainer to use a labour provider.
‘‘Some farmers use labour hire contractors. The good thing about us is we are a central point and we don’t send anyone out without a visa check.’’
For the pickers, Mr Adams said ‘‘if they come through us at least they will be dealing with the farmer’’.
He said while they almost never had complaints from employees regarding payment by farmers, some contractors could be more problematic.
‘‘Some contractors take their slice out of the pickers’ wages and from the backpackers’ perspective they don’t know the good from the bad,’’ Mr Adams said, adding that CVGT also dealt with reputable labour contractors.
Water has been returned to Kinnairds and Black wetlands to help with their revitalisation after bushfire damaged them in February.
More than 2200 people have signed up to show their support for a campaign to have the green route chosen for the new Yarrawonga Mulwala bridge.
Members of Murchison Book Club are hosting a literary lunch with Vivien Achia, author of Marrying Italian — When Love is Not Enough.
Matches were split up over Good Friday and Easter Saturday throughout the region.
Painter Ben Winspear and Scott Wileman will create new works as the public look on during the at Rochester Art Exhibition.
Kyabram Bombers have the chance to beat Rochester under light for the first time this Friday evening.
Lions star recruit had a tough introduction to the GVFL.
Tocumwal's Don Elgin is aiming to compete at the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Scotland
Eighty residents at a forum determined the Heathcote Community Plan was on track but need some fine tuning.
Cobram skate park hosts skateboarding and music for youth week.
Senior state minister Adrian Piccoli reaquainted himself with Deniliquin yesterday, leaving Deniliquin Counil hopeful it has an ally in him.
With his blue eyes and snow-coloured coat, Nanneella horse Sinatra has looks worthy of a fairytale.
Fourteen-year-old Benalla girl Jaimee Linke will launch her debut novel next month.
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