Fruit producers are facing another year of uncertainly over how to harvest without backpackers and other itinerate workers from overseas - despite assurances from the government of an agriculture visa.
Further exacerbating the stress, growers who normally run "pick your own" like Thornbrook Orchard, in NSW's Central West, are deeply concerned what to do come December if Greater Sydney still isn't out of lockdown.
Without tourists or even backpackers, owner Paula Charnock isn't sure yet how the orchard will go about harvesting the cherries and other fruits.
"Our biggest concern at the moment is lockdown and whether we'll be out of lockdown [by harvest time] and whether we'll be open to have people because the majority of our customers come from Sydney so that's probably one of our biggest issues at the moment," Ms Charnock explained.
"New South Wales Farmers and the Department of Primary Industries have been working really hard to come up with some arrangement to get [a travel bubble for] Pacific Islanders... [because the worker shortage] affects all agriculture right across Australia, not just in the Orange region," she added.
"Anyone that's got some kind of crop production... they get a large bit of their labour force from [overseas]."
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Fellow Orange producer Peter West is expecting to face similar changes at harvest time, albeit more because of the Australian-wide shortage of backpackers and other overseas workers, rather than Sydney tourists.
Last week, the National Farmers Federation welcomed the news that the federal government was planning to establish a new visa to permit more foreign workers into Australia.
The agriculture visa - which farmers have been calling for since 2016 - is intended to create an opportunity for workers to take up skilled and un-skilled jobs that can't be filled by Australian workers in the agriculture industry.
In the horticulture sector alone - which includes fruit production -, more than 20,000 additional workers are needed for this summer's harvest.
On Wednesday, NSW Deputy Premier John Barilaro announced that the state Public Health Orders would be amended to allow rural and regional workers employed in the agriculture industry to carpool together.
However, the exemption will only apply to workers who have had their first COVID-19 vaccine or are booked in to receive it before September 10.