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Tonnes of fruit left to ‘rot on the crop’ with NSW border closed

There are fears tougher NSW border restrictions are going to see tonnes of oranges, mandarins, and grapefruits left unpicked.

As of today, seasonal workers are banned from crossing the border from Victoria.

Citrus Australia Chief Executive Nathan Hancock told Ben Fordham tonnes of fruit will be left to rot because people can’t get to work.

“Until you put a bit of pressure on it and you’ve actually got to make some decisions it’s actually quite difficult to identify what a seasonal worker is,” he said.

He said they rely on seasonal workers, often internationals, who are now unable to cross the border, as it appears under the new restrictions they are not classified as ‘essential’.

“As of today there might be probably around 800 to 1200 people that couldn’t go to work – that means 7000 bins of citrus won’t get picked.

“That pretty quickly is going to end up overwhelming the supply chain and we are going it be in big trouble.”

Ben said they would chase up the Agriculture Minister to get some clarity around whether they should be classed as essential workers.

“We’ll chase some certainty for Nathan and the other workers – otherwise it’s going to rot on the crop.”

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