Tasmanian Fruit Industry Workforce

Securing a Viable Workforce for the Tasmanian Fruit and Vegetable Industry

Degree type


Closing date

27 March 2023



Citizenship requirement


About the research project

The Tasmanian fruit industry contributes around $197 million and the vegetable industry over $251 million to the state economy. The North West coast is at the centre of Tasmania's vegetable and fruit industry. As with much of Australia, the harvest of this seasonal produce is heavily dependent on temporary visa holders who have at times been subject to exploitative labour practices. The fragility of these arrangements has been further exposed by the Covid-19 pandemic and consequent border closures, leading to further concerns about the ongoing viability of these arrangements.

The University of Tasmania's goal is to work in partnership with community, industry and government to create a prosperous and sustainable future. This project goes to the heart of this intention. The North West coast fruit and vegetable industry is located in a region with high levels of unemployment, underemployment and disadvantage. It has been the source of debates about the viability of the current dependence of temporary visa holders and the issues involved in recruiting and retaining a local workforce. This project aims to develop place-based solutions that will provide a sustainable North West coast fruit and vegetable workforce. The project sits within TSBE's Sustainable Work and Well Being research cluster and addresses the strategic issues of improving Tasmania's economic performance and social inclusion.

The candidate will undertake qualitative research and generate case studies in the North West coast fruit and vegetable industry. The candidate should have a strong social science background and will be expected to take a multi-disciplinary approach and engage with growers, employers, workers, government, unions and the community. This project seeks to develop theoretical and practical insights into the enablers and barriers to employment in the North West coast fruit and vegetable workforce. The successful candidate will be supervised by an expert social science team who address these concerns in a variety of settings.

Primary Supervisor

Meet Dr Ruth Barton


Applicants will be considered for a Research Training Program (RTP) scholarship or Tasmania Graduate Research Scholarship (TGRS) which, if successful, provides:

  • a living allowance stipend of $31,500 per annum (2023 rate, indexed annually) for 3.5 years
  • a relocation allowance of up to $2,000
  • a tuition fees offset covering the cost of tuition fees for up to four years (domestic applicants only)

If successful, international applicants will receive a University of Tasmania Fees Offset for up to four years.

As part of the application process you may indicate if you do not wish to be considered for scholarship funding.


Applicants should review the Higher Degree by Research minimum entry requirements.

Additional eligibility criteria specific to this project/scholarship:

  • Applicants must be able to undertake the project on-campus

Selection Criteria

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

Additional essential selection criteria specific to this project:

  • 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

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 to discuss your suitability and the project's requirements; and
  3. 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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