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Farm worker minimum wage changes may push grey nomads out of industry

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Since dropping her job in the course of the COVID-19 pandemic, Cathy Downie has been engaged on farms round Australia.

“I am over 50, so I suppose I am classed as a gray nomad,” she mentioned. 

“Though I choose to be classed as an energetic nomad.”

Whereas farmers have valued any additional arms amid a labour scarcity, Ms Downie is nervous that adjustments to the horticulture award may imply her choosing days are numbered.

“Choosing at my very own tempo and on a chunk price was terrific,” she mentioned.

woman standing under a row of vines, with green grapes, holding a bunch in her left hand.
Cathy Downie hopes this is not her final 12 months choosing fruit round Australia. (ABC Mildura Swan Hill: Alexandra Treloar )

“However with this new hourly price, it’ll make it a little bit bit harder to work.

“I am a giant advocate for nomads like myself getting on the market and serving to farmers for a couple of weeks.

The new award implemented on April 28 requires all harvest employees to be paid at the very least $25.41 an hour.