WA labour shortages and expectations of a bumper harvest have prompted Australia’s biggest grain exporter to launch its annual summer harvest recruitment campaign a month earlier than usual to find hundreds of workers. CBH hires about 1800 seasonal workers over a six-week period each year to help receive and store the State’s multi million tonne harvest at about 100 bins across WA, stretching from north of Geraldton to Esperance in the south and out past Merredin.
With a near-perfect start to the growing season fuelling hopes of a big haul this season, this year’s intake of casuals is likely to be even higher — provided CBH can get the people amid a skills shortage across the broader economy. CBH chief people officer Kelly McKenzie said the closure of international borders to working holiday makers and the potential for a larger-than-average harvest had prompted the co-operative to open applications early.
Roles available at CBH include plant operators and grain quality technicians. CBH provides full training and free basic accommodation for the harvest either at the receival sites or nearby. Depending on weather, WA’s harvest season usually starts in late October, and runs for about six weeks and expect to work hard. Work may be remote — as far as 100km from the nearest town —and conditions can be hot and dry with constant dust. Pay rates start at $29.16 an hour and up to 12 hours a day may be required, with two days off within a 14-day period.