Harvest Trail Inquiry
Learn about our campaign and inquiry to help employers and employees on the Harvest trail understand their rights and meet their obligations under Australian workplace laws.
On this page:
Every year, seasonal harvest workers follow the ‘Harvest Trail’ of ripening fruit, vegetables and other crops around Australia. From January grape picking in the Hunter Valley to autumn apples in Tasmania, October mangoes in the Northern Territory and cherries at Christmas time, the horticulture and viticulture industries employ many travellers and seasoned harvesters.
The horticulture sector is key area of focus for FWO. Our experience of working with employers and employees in the horticulture industry has shown there is often:
- confusion about employer obligations, including how to use piece rate agreements
- a lack of understanding about grower’s obligations when using a labour hire service.
Our Harvest Trail Inquiry started in August 2013. We focused on visiting and revisiting Harvest Trail regions to help employers and employees understand their workplace rights and obligations.
We looked at issues such as:
- minimum wages and conditions, including piece rates
- record keeping and pay slips
- labour hire and supply chain issues.
Some of the discoveries we made during our Harvest Trail Inquiry include:
- misuse of piece rates
- a negative impact where labour hire arrangements were used illegally
- low consumer awareness and unwillingness to pay more for ‘domestic fair trade’ produce contributes to exploitation.
The Harvest Trail Inquiry Report details our efforts and what we found out during this period.
Download the full Harvest Trail Inquiry Report
During the inquiry, we visited businesses across Australia. These visits were in response to intelligence such as requests for assistance and anonymous tip-offs.
Download the list of locations visited.
Read about some of the work completed as part of the Harvest Trail Campaign and Inquiry:
- Harvest trail project turns to WA wine industry
- Growers, hostels, labour-hire contractors cautioned over backpacker, seasonal worker entitlements
- Fair Work Ombudsman's presence helped ensure 'level playing field' for Hunter Valley grape harvest
- Spotlight on Katherine mango farms
- Results of Yarra Valley strawberry farm visits
- Mid-North Coast blueberry farms back in spotlight
- Fair Work inspectors back in Caboolture today.