Housing boom for agricultural workers

The adage “build it and they will come” rings true for Boort Lakes Holiday Park owners Wendy and Tim James.

On Thursday, September 30, Victoria Agriculture Minister Mary-Anne Thomas unveiled new facilities in the park for seasonal workers, which will increase accommodation for the region’s workforce for the harvest to come and for years to come.

Boort Lakes Holiday Park has received $ 500,000 to build 16 new cabins and six bathrooms for existing trailer sites, providing accommodation for up to 77 workers to support the area’s agricultural industry.

“As soon as these new cabins were built we had farm workers ready to book and they enjoyed staying close to their workplace,” Ms. James said.

Ms Thomas said providing adequate housing was essential to address shortages of rural and regional workers.

“It’s fantastic to see the progress Wendy has made in growing accommodation options for Boort and the wider region – helping farm businesses in her community access the workforce they have. need, ”Ms. Thomas said.

“We know how important it is for farmers to have suitable accommodation options for their workers – locally and on the farm – to make it easier for them to recruit workers for the harvest season.

“Access to housing is a common barrier that prevents people from taking a job in agriculture. These investments in locally driven solutions will have a positive effect on the entire community. “

The development is part of the Victorian Government’s Seasonal Workforce Accommodation Program, which provides financial support to 13 regional projects to provide COVIDSafe accommodation, transportation and support services to up to 2,000 workers seasonal horticultural.

Nearby, Boundary Bend Olives received $ 62,000 to build 12 new caravan sites with toilets and showers for its temporary on-farm trailer park, which workers benefited from during this year’s olive harvest.

Further afield, Mildura City Backpackers received $ 45,000 to create COVIDSafe kitchen facilities, doubling its housing for workers, and Nyah Village Caravan Park received a grant of $ 109,000 to build five units that can accommodate up to 12 workers.

Construction on both projects is complete and workers have started using the new facilities.

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