Tuesday, March 5, 2024

Burdekin Council looks to sweeten deal for cane workforce

Burdekin Shire Council has teamed up with local canegrower organisations to encourage travelling workers to make the ‘cane change’ and assist with the 2022 sugar cane crushing season.

The call follows a reported nationwide shortage of seasonal workers, resulting in a shortfall of harvester operators and haulout truck drivers to keep up with demand in the Shire.

Burdekin Mayor, Lyn McLaughlin said due to unusually late wet weather, seasonal workers who started in the coming weeks would still have at least four months of work ahead of them.

“At current estimate, the Burdekin’s 2022 sugar cane crushing season will not finish until at least 31 December, meaning there is still a lot of money to be made for those willing to put in the work,” Mayor McLaughlin said.

“The Burdekin, the sugar cane capital of Australia, is situated only an hour’s drive South of North Queensland’s largest city, Townsville, and provides a country lifestyle with direct access to all big-city amenities such as universities, hospitals, major shopping centres, a full-sized airport and more.

“While the Burdekin’s sugar cane crushing season has commenced, farmers and contractors are still on the hunt for both permanent workers to fill roles such as farmhands as well as seasonal workers for positions as harvester operators and haulout truck drivers for the remainder of the crushing season.”

Economic Development Advisory Group representative and local grower, Councillor Max Musumeci said North Queensland Winters made working on Burdekin properties much more comfortable than conditions down South.

“There is no better time to be in the Burdekin than over the cooler months, with our average of 300 days of sunshine a year making days pleasant and nights cool and crisp – and there is no place more unique to work, with the Burdekin the only region in Australia that still burns a majority of its cane prior to harvesting,” Cr Musumeci said.   

“While many travelling workers may have found somewhere to settle down for the remainder of the year, I want to encourage those who are still considering the perfect sea or tree change to make the ‘cane change’ to the Burdekin.

“The fact that I’ve personally been called several times already this season to jump in a truck or transporter demonstrates that there is definitely a shortage of workers, but definitely not a shortage of employment opportunities across our Shire. From carpenters to mechanics, boilermakers to engineers, drivers to chefs – employment opportunities in the Burdekin are as bountiful as our lifestyle.

“Whether you are looking for a permanent new home or just a few months’ work, there are a range of both permanent and seasonal roles now available. Anyone interested can phone Council or visit Council’s website to be connected with local employment opportunities and cane grower groups. Make the ‘cane change’ today!”   

Burdekin growers and contractors are currently looking for people to fill a range of permanent and seasonal roles. For more information or to get in touch, visit bit.ly/CaneChange.

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