Our Sweet Corn production line is humming thanks to the efforts of these seasonal workers who are in Australia from Timor Leste.
The group arrived to Australia about nine months ago, through the Pacific Labour Mobilty Scheme (PALM).
They joined us in Bowen, with our joint venture partners Vee Jays Kalfresh, for the winter season and moved south to Kalbar in November and will be with us here until April.
The group are aged 23 to 32 and sought the work in Australia as a way to improve their lives back home.
Group spokeswoman, Aprilla Yeti says the Australian wages are approximately five times what they could earn back home.
She hopes to use her Australian savings to start a business back home, which makes leaving her husband and two children, aged 9 and 7, for a year a little easier to manage.
“It’s very difficult to be away from family but we have a lot of new experience and new environment and culture to learn. Everyone has been so friendly,” she explains.
“We want to fix our life in East Timor, it’s very difficult there to get a job. Working in Australia is very good for us. We can earn money to take home. Some people will build a house, some want to start their own business.”
Kalfresh CEO Richard Gorman says the business is lucky to have the opportunity to employ the group of keen and willing workers and their presence adds a new and positive dynamic to the workforce.
“Everyone who has worked with the group feels their positivity and energy,” he says.
“We want to ensure their time away from family and friends is as beneficial and profitable as it can be so they can return home and achieve the goals they have set.”
Vee Jays Kalfresh director, Jamie Jurgens, says the PALM scheme has allowed the business in North Queensland to continue without interruption.
“For us their help could not have come at a better time,” he says.
“Like many in our industry, COVID has created significant workforce challenges and to have a group of people who are so keen to be working is amazing. We have all enjoyed their input and their positive outlook on life.”