Migrant, refugee workers benefit organic farm

HANDLING his ever-changing farm workforce is always a challenge for Rob Bauer.

But last year, he tried a slightly different method after being approached by a community services group looking to place migrants and refugees in jobs.

Bauer's Organic Farm, located at Mt Sylvia, took up the offer from Access Community Services, giving mainly Burmese workers jobs on the farm.

Mr Bauer said the program seemed to have mutual benefits for the workers and his business.

"The Burmese people we put on, that was quite successful. They were appreciative of the jobs and were hard working people," he said.

"Access gave them a rap, said they'd work well, screened them a bit to pick out people who are genuinely looking for a job - the ones that really want to work.

"The workforce is ever changing.

"The lure was that they could be permanent type people. Backpackers are good but they're always on the move.

"They are local people now; they'll be there for the long term."

Bauer's involvement in the program earned them a short listing in the business inclusion category of the 2014 Australian Migration and Settlement Awards, which Mr Bauer and publicity/home delivery co-ordinator Trudy Townson travelled to Canberra to attend.

Mr Bauer said the award nomination was a surprise to them, but a gratifying recognition.

"It was a bit of good publicity, about 400 people in Canberra in the Great Hall in Parliament House.

"It was great to have our name up in lights."

They will continue their involvement in the program next year.

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