2500 Territory jobs on offer as fruit picking season looms
CHIEF Minister Michael Gunner is encouraging people who have lost their jobs due to the coronavirus crisis to consider taking up work in the NT's agriculture sector.
The Territory's fruit and vegetable farming sector is expecting a shortfall of 2500 workers this year.
Many farms normally rely on overseas and seasonal workers but, due to strict travel restrictions, they are now looking for more local workers.
"The Farmers Federation are flagging about 2000 jobs will be available soon picking fruit," Mr Gunner said.
"I know for a lot of people out there fruit picking ain't what they want to do in life but it's there if you want it."
He said the Government had also just launched a new online jobs hub platform to connect Territory employers with jobseekers affected by the coronavirus crisis.
The Chief Minister said the platform was about getting Territorians into a job quickly and easily.
"Go there please and list yourself as a casual worker who's available," Mr Gunner said.
"I know there are a lot of people out there who don't have work right now, we've seen the Centrelink cues.
"I feel for everyone right now who doesn't know where their next dollar is coming from.
"I'm sorry that some of the (government) decisions have made people go out of work but I hope everyone knows that we made those decisions seriously in order to save lives."
Mr Gunner said markets could still go ahead in the Territory as long as common spaces were managed properly and complied with social distancing.
"So markets that are mainly food markets, takeaway and delivery is absolutely no problem, so the markets can go ahead on that basis," he said.
"It's about commonsense and the markets managing those common spaces."
It comes as Australia moves to stage two restrictions to curb the coronavirus outbreak, including restricting haircuts to 30 minutes.
"We're also asking for people to get their hair cut quickly," Mr Gunner said.
"But I'm not going to arrest people for taking 32 minutes to do a haircut … we've just got to be sensible about this."
He said the potential closure of Territory national parks such as Litchfield was under active consideration and a decision would be made soon.
The Chief Minister wasn't able to answer how many Territory public servants were currently working from home.
"The people in the business units can manage this but someone can work from home, we're cool you can do that," he said.
"What I'm saying at the moment is how do we re-task?
"We have some hot spots in government right now - health, our coronavirus hotline, the small business champions unit and our grants unit.
"They're the really busy areas of government right now so my first question to public servants will be are you available and can you slip into one of those roles?"
Originally published as 2500 Territory jobs on offer as fruit picking season looms