Farm Tender

Head Bush...

Extracted from the Farm Tender weekly Newsletter - Sign up and get the email every Wednesday morning before 6 am.

By Dwain Duxson.

Last week in this column, we talked about some of the problems we faced in Ag, and the leading issue was the lack of people available to work on Farms. Well, we opened a can of worms, and the feedback was telling us yes, that's an issue, but there are also broader issue that extends to the skilled trades like Electricians, Plumbers, Builders, Mechanics etc.

So before we get into it, I would encourage skilled or unskilled workers to head bush to seek their fortune.

Easier said than done, I know, but surely councils in rural and regional areas can get their heads together and start a collective campaign to encourage the young and not so young to head bush.

Here are some of the stories from last weeks article.

The first is from Farm Tender's very own Mike Pickard, who is touring Australia in a Caravan with his wife Libby and working simultaneously. They are currently doing Lockdown in the Wilcannia area.

Mike said, "In our travels so far, we see such a huge opportunity for young people to get a start in life out here in the rural areas, they are screaming out for skilled and unskilled workers, and they (the Farmers) pay very well."

"Just in the six weeks we've been here, we have managed to get the Submersible Bore going, which had broken down, a Lawnmower and two Vehicles to work, and an ATV operational. They cannot get anyone to come and maintain and repair. This is just not Wilcannia, this is all throughout regional Australia as we came across the same situation in other areas". Mike said.

Another guy said, "I am a Builder and travelling Australia, I put it out there looking for work and have been swamped by Farmers in remote areas with some saying they've been trying to get a builder for two and a half years".

Here's another story about a Truck Mechanic at Warrnambool. He said, "I could close the shop for three weeks to catch up on jobs and still wouldn't get them finished".

A Farming Family at Dirranbandi said. "We were trying to get the solar hot water system replaced, and we're waiting on an Electrician and a Plumber from St George to come. We had been waiting for three and a half months. We ended up having to get crew out from Toowoomba to do the job at a far greater expense. Situations like these are all too common".

It's a bit of a Chicken and Egg scenario, we need to get workers out to the Farm, but we also need these builders, plumbers etc, to get the accommodation and facilities up to standard so people will come. People won't come if things aren't up to scratch.

Mike relayed another story. "In 1988 a friend of mine, he and his wife left the Family Farm at 28, and he moved to Brisbane and got himself an Electrical apprenticeship, once he qualified he moved back to Longreach and only concentrated on Electrical work on Stations".

"He was then contacted by a large Pastoral Company and flew around to all the Properties in the Gulf and they showed him the jobs they required, He then gave them a list of stuff for each Station that they needed to order, which they did, once that gear had arrived they then flew him back, and he did the work. This lasted eight years".

"They then gave that away and was able to purchase their first Sheep and Cattle Property near Barcaldine". Mike said.

The list goes on...

End of message.