Covid

Australia is launching a new campaign to try and lure young New Zealanders “across the ditch” this summer to fill jobs on farms and across hospitality sectors left vacant due to the coronavirus pandemic.

From Thursday night, social media ads will target young Kiwis showcasing “the many adventures they can have while working and travelling in Australia.”

“We want young New Zealanders to cross the ditch, have a cracking time exploring our incredible country, earn some cash, spend that cash, and support our farmers or tourism operators at the same time,” Trade Minister, Simon Birmingham said.

The ad blitz is the latest attempt by the Australian government to offset labour shortages for the summer fruit picking season.

The country relies on over 300,000 working holiday-makers every year across the agricultural, tourism and hospitality sectors.

“Ordinarily, at this time of year, there’d be around 135,000 working holiday makers in Australia,” Birmingham told reporters in Canberra.

In mid-October Australia lifted its coronavirus-triggered travel restrictions with New Zealand, allowing arrivals to enter the country without undergoing mandatory quarantine.

At that time, the government announced it would allow backpackers working on farms to stay with one employer for more than the usual six months and stay in Australia an extra year.

Meanwhile, Deputy Prime Minister Michael McCormack tried to entice New Zealanders with the prospect of a rural romance.

“We’ve got work to be done in agriculture… and they might even come over here and find love,” McCormack said.

Working holiday makers inject around 3.2 billion dollars (2.4 billion U.S dollars) into the Australian economy every year.

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