Securing a Sustainable Workforce for the Produce Industry

Securing a Sustainable Workforce for the Tasmanian Fruit and Vegetable Industry

Degree type


Closing date

22 November 2021



Citizenship requirement

Domestic/International Onshore


$28,597pa for 3.5 years

About the research project

The Tasmanian fruit industry contributes around $197 million and the vegetable industry over $251 million to the state economy (AgriGrowth Tasmania). The North West coast is at the centre of Tasmania's vegetable and fruit industry and, as in much of Australia, the harvest of this produce is heavily dependent on temporary visa holders. The fragility of these arrangements has been exposed by the Covid-19 pandemic and consequent border closures, leading to concerns there may be insufficient workers now and into the future to harvest this seasonal produce.

This labour shortage occurs in a region with high levels of unemployment and disadvantage and has seen debates about the sustainability of the current arrangements for both growers, workers and the community. This project will target cohorts such as the young and unemployed or underemployed workers and will examine the interaction between welfare and labour market policy to assess the structural barriers hindering their participation in this workforce. It aims to develop place-based solutions that will be applicable to other Australian regions.

Primary Supervisor

Meet Dr Ruth Barton


The scholarship supporting this project provides:

  • a living allowance stipend of $28,597 per annum (2021 rate, indexed annually) for 3.5 years;
  • a relocation allowance of up to $2,000;
  • a tuition fee scholarship for up to 4 years (successful domestic applicants will be awarded an RTP Fees Offset and successful international applicants will be awarded a University of Tasmania Fees Offset)

The scholarship supporting this project is funded by the University of Tasmania and the Australian Government through the Research Training Program and the Destination Australia Program.


The project is open to domestic (Australia and New Zealand) and international applicants who are already in Australia (onshore) at the time of submitting their application.

Due to current Australian COVID-19 travel restrictions the University cannot accept applications from International applicants who are currently overseas.

Applicants should review the PhD minimum entry requirements and the following additional eligibility criteria specific to this project/scholarship:

  • Applicants must be commencing a new course of study with the University of Tasmania in the 2021 academic year

Applicants from the following disciplines are encouraged to apply:

  • Management
  • Geography
  • Sociology

Selection Criteria

The project/scholarship is competitively assessed and awarded.  Selection is based on academic merit and suitability to the project as determined by the College.

Additional selection criteria specific to this project/scholarship:

  • Demonstrated capacity in critical thinking
  • Background in subject areas relevant to the project (e.g. management, geography, sociology)
  • Evidence of an ability to understand, apply and critique theory

Additional requirements

  • Applicants must maintain full time enrolment for the full duration of their candidature.
  • This project position is offered at the Hobart campus. The successful applicant must remain enrolled at and study at that campus for the course duration.
  • The successful applicant must commence their candidature by 15th December, 2021.

Application process

There is a three-step application process:

  1. Select your project, and check you meet the eligibility and selection criteria;
  2. Contact the Primary Supervisor, Dr Ruth Barton, if you have any questions about the project; and
  3. Click here to submit an application by the closing date listed above.
    • Copy and paste the title of the project from this advertisement into your application. If you don’t correctly do this your application may be rejected.
    • As part of your application you will be required to submit a covering letter, a CV including 2 x referees and your project research proposal.

Following the application closing date applications will be assessed within the College. Applicants should expect to receive notification of the outcome by email by the advertised outcome date.

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