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Why The Price Of Summer Fruit Is Set To Skyrocket

Australian shoppers could be hit with a hefty grocery bill this summer as the price of fruit is expected to soar.

Farmers around the country have expressed concern at this year's lacklustre number of applications for seasonal workers - due, it's believed, to the "disastrous" backpacker tax due to come into effect on January 1.

"Normally by now, we would have about 1500 applicants but, as of today, we only have 600 applicants, then only a third who apply will accept a job," Tim Reid, owner of Reid Fruits, told The Mercury.

"It is a critical issue for us. We are a long way short from having the picker numbers to get the crop in, otherwise fruit will be wasted."

And that means that, if there's no-one to pick the fruit, supermarket shelves will look a lot barer.

"What farmers are saying..." South Australian Senator Nick Xenophon warned, "[is] if fruit and veg are left rotting on the ground and it's for domestic consumption, if there's less fruit picked but same demand, prices rise. 

"It's basic economics 101."

The tax, which would see working holiday visa holders handing over 32.5 cents on every dollar they earn, is expected to be scrapped after a review by the Department of Agriculture saw more than 1700 submissions.

But the knock-on effects - thanks, Senator Xenophon believes, to the "social media grapevine" - already seem set to affect Australian shoppers over the coming months.

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