Dairy farmers Malcolm and Jane McGregor fear for the future of their Jaggan farm as they are unable to find any employees.
Dairy farmers Malcolm and Jane McGregor fear for the future of their Jaggan farm as they are unable to find any employees.

A job, no rent ... and no takers

NORTH Queensland dairy farmers Malcolm and Jane McGregor are prepared to pay $1000 a week and provide free rent and electricity, but say it's still not good enough for unemployed Australians looking for work.

The McGregors are desperate to hire a farmhand but locals aren't interested in working, so they have been forced to pulled a 72-year-old out of retirement and rely on Mr McGregor's 83-year-old dad to keep their business going.

Mrs McGregor, 45, a mother of twins Alexander and Lilley, 5, said despite advertising in The Cairns Post and online jobs website Seek, not one local has formally applied - at a time when youth unemployment in Cairns is more than 13 per cent and almost 6 per cent across the board.

Dairy farmers Malcolm and Jane McGregor fear for the future of their Jaggan farm as they are unable to find any employees.
Dairy farmers Malcolm and Jane McGregor fear for the future of their Jaggan farm as they are unable to find any employees.

Speaking to The Courier-Mail at her Jaggan farm, about 90 minutes from Cairns, Mrs McGregor said that she received applications from the Middle East, India and the Philippines and a Mackay boilermaker considering the job.

"It's frustrating and makes you really angry,'' Mrs McGregor said.

"Malcolm works seven days a week... he only sees the kids for a couple of hours a week. We just need someone who could be Malcolm's 2IC so we can have a break.

"Before our kids started prep, they had no concept of what a weekend was."

She said the right worker would be paid about $55,000 a year and given free rent in a two-bedroom cottage on the farm.

Electricity was also free.

The McGregors said they wanted to spend more time as a family and were already relying heavily on Alf, Mr McGregor's father, and a former worker who retired.

The Federal Member for Leichhardt, Warren Enstch, who knows the McGregors, said it "breaks his heart" that the McGregors cannot find workers.

"He (Malcolm) looks asleep on his feet and he can't see his kids because he needs to work," he said.



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