How do you pick the right laptop?


Running your own business can be a challenge. With so many spinning plates you have enough to worry about, so the right laptop is a must. Whether it’s number-crunching, tracking trends, invoicing, or running online meetings, you need something you can afford and rely on now, but still powerful enough to handle whatever’s coming around the corner.

We spoke to small-business owners to understand what they look for in a laptop and found that needs ranged from portability and battery life to performance. What was clear is that it was the tool they could not do without.

Like all investments, you need to be confident you’re getting the best bang for your buck. But if tech is not your forte, it can be difficult to look at the wide array of products and know what you need to compare. A solid starting point is looking for the Intel Evo “stamp of approval” when shopping for a laptop. This means it has been certified for performance and has the latest high-tech specs. The following explains why this is important.

For
entrepreneurs always on the move:

Two
words: battery life! And another two words: battery life. Ok, they are the same
words, but whether you’re working from home around your family or partner, in
the office, or finding yourself back on the road more, not being tethered to
the cord is essential. You want a laptop that charges quickly and delivers at
least nine hours of battery life, keeping you working for the whole day.

For
those with heavy workloads:

Nothing is as frustrating as being on deadline and dealing with a laptop that can’t handle your everyday demands. Your business tool needs to handle everything you do, not just some of it. Intel Evo laptops feature the latest Intel processors, which are the brains of the computer, so you can seamlessly toggle and your laptop can handle multiple applications being open at one time. Thunderbolt 4 is another beneficial feature many aren’t aware of but should be. This is a port on the side of your laptop that enables high-speed data at a transfer rate of 40 gigabits per second so transferring data to and from external storage can be done quickly, for example. This one port also delivers high-resolution video and power. So you can connect to your 4K monitors, external keyboard, mouse, fast storage and charge your laptop all from the one cable, making working from anywhere easier than ever. 

For the time-poor:

When you need your laptop, you shouldn’t have to wait for it to wake up. You want a device that boots up quickly, ideally in a second or less, and lets you get on with things straight away. Editing photos and videos is also a faster experience on the latest laptops. Standards such as these are important not only for managing the competing tasks of running a small business but juggling the rest of your life as well. Whether you’re a road warrior prone to forgetting your charger or someone who wants to get to work the minute creativity sparks, there is a range of premium laptops available today that deliver on performance, long battery life and responsiveness, you just need to know what to look for.

Santhosh Viswanathan, Managing Director, Intel APJ Territory



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Central Victoria’s last gravedigger Alan Graham is hanging up his pick and shovel


In 42 years as a gravedigger, Alan Graham has never known the weather to delay a funeral. When he gets the call, no matter how bad it is outside, he takes his pick and shovel and goes to work.

“You could have a hurricane blowing and they’d still try to do the funeral,” he said.

“We had bushfires lapping around Daylesford eight years ago and they had to let me through roadblocks to get in so I could dig the hole.” 

The 65-year-old is retiring next month after digging more than 4,000 graves in Daylesford, Trentham, and Glenlyon in Victoria’s old goldfields region.

Anyone buried in those cemeteries in the past four decades almost certainly rests in earth gently turned by Mr Graham.   

He found his calling by chance in 1979, at 24. He was going for a job at an abattoir but met a gravedigger who couldn’t face another icy central Victorian winter. His pitch to Mr Graham was effective:

“I thought, that’s probably the way to go,” Mr Graham says now. 

“I didn’t really want to work at the abattoirs.”

Cold winters and all, it was a choice that kept Mr Graham fit and healthy as he stuck with a pick and shovel, despite the industry trend to machine-dug graves.

A hole for one is about five hours’ digging, he says, although he confesses that, about 10 years ago, he found a second-hand jackhammer on eBay he occasionally puts to use.

When Mr Graham retires, most new graves in his old workplaces will be dug with machinery and are unlikely to have the same neat, careful touch — square corners, clean edges, perfect proportions.

Correct grave dimensions, even for the machines, are essential too, Mr Graham says : “Room for the coffin, with handles, to go down and they can get the tapes out”.

After digging so many graves, Mr Graham has a fair idea what to expect from funerals.

“Firemen are always a big deal, especially if something happened in the big fires or if it’s an unexpected death,” he said.

“When a local truck driver dies, they’ll bring him out on the back of a prime mover.

Mr Graham has had 30 years of support from his wife, Anne, his secretary and bookings manager.

“I’m very proud of him,” she said.

“It’s a noble job and the very last thing anyone can do for anybody and he does it with pride. 

“It’ll be strange not being tied to the phone, because we’re sort of on call 24/7. If a funeral comes in, it must be dug.

“It’s not like you can say, ‘We’ll do that tomorrow morning or the day after’.

As for his own funeral, Mr Graham has a family plot picked out at Glenlyon.

Sadly, but by choice, he has had to dig there to lay his daughter, Amba, to rest.

“My daughter was killed in a car accident about 18 months ago,”  he said. 

“We had her cremated and she’s in the plot out there. She’s got her plaque there.

“We tended to figure, you buy a plot and then if you all get cremated then really there is no limit to all of the people who can go in that plot.”

After witnessing so much graveside heartache, Mr Graham has clear and open views on life and death.

“I’ve never been religious,” he said. “But I can understand people who think along those lines.

“The way I look at it, you’ve got to do what you’ve got to do while you’re here.”

Daylesford Cemetery secretary Jack Adriaans has worked with Mr Graham for 40 years.

“He is a craftsman. His graves are always spot on,” he said.

“Funeral directors and their assistants always comment on his graves — always straight, clean and not too wide.

“He’s a man of few words but always follows orders to the letter. He deserves a good retirement.

“There’s not many who can sink a grave as neatly, quickly and cleanly as Alan because everything is done by a great big machine now.”

Mr Adriaans said the gravedigger always went out of his way to make sure there were no issues for families of the deceased.

“Most families wouldn’t even be aware of it but it was just done to make sure things were as good as possible.”

Even if Mr Graham was unwell and “feeling lousy” he’d still turn up to dig the hole, Mr Adriaans said.  

After so much time in graveyards, Mr Graham is ambivalent about any talk of ghosts.

“I reckon what people see when they see ‘ghosts’ is things that are happening in the corner of your eye,” he said.

“Your peripheral vision just isn’t good enough. When you turn around and look, there’s nothing there.”

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Fremantle pick apart ‘spectating’ Giants



AFL: The Giants were lacklustre against Fremantle in the first half of their Round 2 clash leading Fox Footy analyst Gerard Healy to criticise their work rate.

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Why Dave Rennie should pick Seru Uru, Len Ikitau, Josh Kemeny and Andy Muirhead for Wallabies


Uru does the tight stuff in the middle of the park just as well as the fun stuff in the 15m channels. His set piece work and physicality in defence has been good and he is someone who would take huge benefit from an extended time in a Wallabies environment.

Len Ikitau (Brumbies)

Probably the most obvious. Ikitau has been excellent for the Brumbies. In attack running right to left, with a left arm carry, right arm fend combination he has been destructive. He has also been making good decisions in the most challenging defensive position of them all, outside centre.

Len Ikitau takes the ball up against the Reds.

Len Ikitau takes the ball up against the Reds.Credit:Getty Images

A role where context, communication and understanding of opposition and teammates strengths and weaknesses all influence an apparently simple tackle. A left boot is always handy for balance in a backline and his deft grubber try assist against the Waratahs stands out as another string to his bow. He is young, so patience is required but an exciting prospect.

I’d love to see him spend Sunday to Wednesday with the Wallabies throughout the year then, if not selected, head back to club training for Thursday night and play club on Saturdays.

Josh Kemeny (Rebels)

The most left-field of my picks. Kemeny has impressed with quality and consistency of performance this year. He has the athletic attributes to succeed at both Super Rugby and the level above.

Melbourne Rebels flanker Josh Kemeny has made big strides this year.

Melbourne Rebels flanker Josh Kemeny has made big strides this year.Credit:Gerard McLenaghan/Melbourne Rebels

Fit, fast, skillful and improving every time he steps out, Kemeny’s performances in Super Rugby Trans-Tasman matches will determine whether the bridge to the demands of Test rugby is still too far. A run by the Rebels to the finals, and dominant backrow performances against direct rivals won’t hurt either. In representing the Junior Wallabies he has played and train with many of Australian Rugby’s Generation Next.

Andy Muirhead (Brumbies)

The best performing right winger in the competition. Marika Koroibete has the left wing spot locked in. Filipo Daugunu plays (exceptionally well) on the left wing for the Reds and changes may well be made to accommodate him at the Wallabies selection table.

Andy Muirhead on the attack for the Brumbies.

Andy Muirhead on the attack for the Brumbies.Credit:Getty Images

Perhaps most of all the shadow of Suliasi Vunivalu looms large, but on performance not potential Andy Muirhead deserves the opportunity to come into Wallabies camp and state his case for selection.

Muirhead is second only to Koroibete in defenders beaten across the competition. What is also impressive that the backfield coverage and defensive roles required.

To be his size and succeed at Test level is not a given but at the moment his irrepressible form demands that the Wallabies find out.

The Wallaby camp in two week’s time will be as much about getting fitted for the jersey as finding players who fit the jersey. The second half of Super Rugby AU will uncover and confirm who those chosen few will be.

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Richmond pick up breakthrough AFLW victory at Punt Road over West Coast Eagles



Richmond have celebrated a breakthrough win at their traditional Punt Road Oval home, outlasting West Coast in a stirring AFLW battle.

The Tigers had to withstand an Eagles second-half challenge for the 5.12 (42) to 5.4 (34) victory, played in constant rain.

It was set up by Richmond’s first-half dominance and the lead stretched to 23 points after Christina Bernardi goaled early in the third quarter.

But West Coast booted the next three goals to cut the margin to just six points before Tiger forward Katie Brennan took a strong mark and kicked the goal that saved the day.

“It’s a season of firsts: the first win and then to be able to win interstate and then at home,” Richmond coach Ryan Ferguson said.

“And our journey of just being able to learn to compete and be in games. And learning how to win and grind out games.

The Tigers’ midfield unit of Ellie McKenzie, Monique Conti and Sarah Hosking was instrumental in setting up the seemingly insurmountable lead before the Eagles’ onballers took over in the second half as Irish sisters Grace and Niamh Kelly consistently sent them inside the forward 50.

It was a brave effort by West Coast, the Eagles finishing the bruising game with a bench full of injured players.

Coming off a six-day break, the Eagles lost captain Emma Swanson to suspension for rough conduct. Fellow onballer Aisling McCarthy was out of the game in the opening minutes with a knee injury.

“I was so proud of the players. We had to adjust at half-time and try to get the ball out because Richmond had been too big and strong for us early,” West Coast coach Daniel Pratt said.

Richmond placed an emphasis on applying pressure inside their forward half and that commitment provided a crucial early lead, particularly given the greasy conditions.

Tayla Stahl used her strength deep in the Tigers’ forward line to boot the first two goals of the game.

Such was Richmond’s early dominance that it took until the last minute of the first quarter for West Coast to venture inside the forward 50 for the first time.

But the girls from the West launched a spirited second-half fight back when they were able to get the ball out into space and nearly stole the points.

AAP

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GOP senators grill Biden DOJ pick Vanita Gupta over attacks on GOP


Vanita Gupta spoke during a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing to examine her nomination to be Associate Attorney General, on Capitol Hill, Tuesday, March 9, 2021, in Washington. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

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UPDATED 7:20 PM PT – Sunday, March 14, 2021

Civil rights attorney Vanita Gupta is facing immense scrutiny from Republican senators over her apparent partisan career.

The Senate Judiciary Committee recently held a hearing to consider Gupta’s nomination for associate U.S. attorney general, the number three spot in the Department of Justice.

GOP committee members grilled Gupta over her progressive stances on several issues, including defunding police departments and trust-busting Big Tech companies.

They also wanted her to clarify her vitriolic rhetoric to Republican lawmakers and judges appointed by President Trump.

“She called the confirmation of now Supreme Court Justice Amy Coney Barrett ‘illegitimate.’ She called Judge Kavanaugh a ‘privileged lifelong partisan,’” Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) stated.

Senate Judiciary Committee ranking member Chuck Grassley, of Iowa, speaks during hearing for Vanita Gupta, nominated to be Associate Attorney General, and Lisa Monaco nominated to be Deputy Attorney General, on Capitol Hill, Tuesday, March 9, 2021, in Washington. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

Senate Judiciary Committee ranking member Chuck Grassley of Iowa spoke during hearing for Vanita Gupta on Capitol Hill, Tuesday, March 9, 2021, in Washington. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

 

Republicans also took issue with Gupta’s seemingly flip-floppy stances on certain issues. Sen. Josh Hawley (R-Mo.) and Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) highlighted her previous position of decriminalizing all drugs, and her reversal leading up to her confirmation hearing.

Additionally, Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) called out Gupta for saying she opposes defund the police rhetoric, despite advocating for it to Congress last year.

“Chairman Durbin asked you about abolishing the police and you said I do not support defunding the police, which is clearly the right political answer seeking to get confirmed,” Cruz said. “I would note that just a few months ago, last year in written correspondence with the Senate of the United States, you encouraged Congress to ‘reexamine federal spending priorities and shrink the footprint of the police and criminal legal system in this country.’”

However, Gupta said many changes in her policy stances came from working for the DOJ during the Obama administration. She claimed if confirmed, she would work hard to reach across the aisle and employ staffers with different political opinions.

In the meantime, the Senate Judiciary Committee has to vote to move forward Gupta’s nomination before the full Senate has a chance to confirm her nomination.

MORE NEWS: Dozens Shot, Few Dead In Weekend Chicago Violence



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Ivan Cleary and Penrith Panthers pick up the pieces after grand final heartbreak against Melbourne Storm


Upon their return to training in January, a group of players sat in the club’s theatrette and watched the game in its entirety . Ivan Cleary didn’t make the session mandatory, but a majority of players attended. One Penrith insider said he had never worked with a group of athletes so hungry to learn from their mistakes.

Before that, however, five-eighth Jarome Luai confessed he had tried to watch a recording of the grand final at home and lasted only 20 minutes before running for his PlayStation.

“It is kind of hard to watch,” Nathan Cleary says. “You wished you could have some moments back. Walking out of the room, all of us felt a lot better. It allows us to put that in the bank and move forward. We can’t change it, but we can use it as motivation for the future.”

The club’s media department has helped, too. They evoked all types of emotional responses when they interviewed players about the grand final for their brilliant documentary series, a fly-on-the-wall insight into the club’s premiership charge.

Largely, the youthful group were optimistic about another crack in a grand final. Wiser heads such as prop Zane Tetevano hated the experience, knowing another chance might not be forthcoming (Tetevano was later granted an early release to head to the English Super League).

Ivan Cleary also knows how hard it is to return, having also lost a grand final as a player and coach with the Warriors.

Then there were the small clips from last year’s grand final drip-fed to players during a brutal camp at a recreational facility at Broken Bay, accessible only by boat. But by then, the process was done.

Panthers coach Ivan Cleary.Credit:Getty

“I spoke to Ivan over the summer and he said when they started back at training, the grand final is funny,” Alexander says. “You don’t immediately address it, it’s done and you go [on holidays]. But it’s there still hanging over your head. I know our boys have addressed it within the first couple of weeks of pre-season.”

One of Australia’s best sports psychologists, Phil Jauncey, said the way an athlete or team dealt with disappointment on the big stage can define their next season or the rest of their career.

Jauncey has been a long-time ally of seven-time premiership-winning coach Bennett and worked with the Brisbane Lions during their AFL dynasty, but said the language the Panthers used when talking about the disappointment would be critical.

“We know the term constipation, where you’ve got some toxins in your system and it doesn’t come out,” he says. “First you don’t feel it, then you get the flatulence and other people smell it and finally you have to get rid of it.

You don’t move on from the disappointment of losing a grand final. That’s there. But you can move forward

Phil Jauncey

“I think emotional constipation is when we need to get rid of something in your system. I don’t think you ever move on [from a grand final loss]. Moving on is acting like it never happened, but moving forward is saying, ‘Yes, I’ve got the scarring because it happened, but where do I go from here?’

“You don’t move on from the disappointment of losing a grand final. That’s there. But you can move forward.”

Up until a few weeks ago, Ivan Cleary had barely gone a day without thinking about a roster decision which needed to be made. If he was inclined to dwell on the grand final, the player carousel didn’t let him.

He has now let go of four of his oldest players from last year’s squad: captain James Tamou (Tigers), Josh Mansour (Rabbitohs), Tetevano (Leeds) and Dean Whare (Catalans), while back-up fullback Daine Laurie was also granted an early release to join the Tigers.

Nathan Cleary will be co-captain of the Panthers this year.

Nathan Cleary will be co-captain of the Panthers this year.Credit:NRL Photos

The revolving door did help the Panthers retain new co-captain Isaah Yeo, Jarome Luai and Stephen Crichton on extended deals, but what will be the ultimate cost of losing the hard heads sprinkled throughout the NRL’s most talented young roster?

Jauncey said it might not be such a bad thing the veterans aren’t around in 2021 when it comes to mindset.

“I would say a lot of those young players at Penrith are saying, ‘Yeah, we’ll get another chance’,” Jauncey says. “The older players know it’s really, really hard to play in a grand final.

“Once you play in a grand final you’ve got to make sure you don’t have regret. I think they would be saddened they didn’t beat Melbourne, but they’ll be thinking, ‘this is another chance’. But if you had a group with primarily older players they would know how hard it is to get another chance.”

I definitely think that grand final has a lot to do with how we’re feeling this year. There’s so much hunger after that game

Api Koroisau

Nathan Cleary and co don’t have to look far if they want advice on how to win a title after losing one.

The irony of Penrith chasing another title 30 years after their first – which came after a grand final defeat 12 months prior – is lost on few at the Panthers, who can lean on the likes of Alexander, Brad Fittler, Royce Simmons and Mark Geyer for experience.

But in the modern NRL era, having to lose a grand final to win one the next year is a feat almost exclusive to Bellamy’s Melbourne Storm.

And perhaps alarmingly, since the NRL’s inception there are seven teams which fell so flat after losing a grand final they missed the play-offs altogether the next year, including in three straight years when the Eels, Roosters and Warriors crumbled after making the deciders between 2009-11.

The trend seems to have slowed in the last decade with only the Cowboys failing to make the top eight (2018) the year after going down in the grand final.

But if Cleary wanted any inspiration on how to pick his team up, he only needed to look on the stage at Stadium Australia last October.

Melbourne have won three grand finals (2007, 2009 and 2017) after being beaten in the decider the year before, although the first two of those titles were stripped for salary cap breaches.

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Manly is the only other team to achieve the feat since the inception of the NRL, flogging the Storm 40-0 in 2008 after the pair squared off in the 2007 grand final.

“I definitely think that grand final has a lot to do with how we’re feeling this year,” Panthers hooker Api Koroisau says. “There’s so much hunger after that game.

“Some of the boys trained so much more during the off-season than what they normally would. You can let it eat away at you and fold, or you can take the challenge head on. We’ve got a bunch of boys here who are looking forward to the challenge.”

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Perth Wildcats lose to Brisbane Bullets as Bryce Cotton, Mitch Norton pick up injuries


Perth Wildcats coach Trevor Gleeson has backed his star players to continue playing through pain after they fought to a 95-92 loss against Brisbane today.

Bryce Cotton hobbled his way through the game with an ankle injury, and that followed a corked thigh from Wednesday. He also finished the match with his arm taped.

Vice-captain Mitch Norton struggled with a back injury and needed treatment on the sidelines which kept him out of the action at key moments.

The Wildcats are in the middle of three games in five days, but Gleeson said Norton and Cotton didn’t take injuries into the match.

Their next clash is against Illawarra on Sunday and Gleeson said his players had little option other than to soldier on.

“We’re not like football that rest guys. We play,” Gleeson said.

“Obviously Mitch wasn’t 100 per cent. Bryce and Mitch are both soldiers.

“If they’re hurt and can’t play they are really hurt. They want to play. Bryce proved that last week when he was laid up for three days and came out and played a game.

Nathan Sobey dominated the game for Brisbane.
Camera IconNathan Sobey dominated the game for Brisbane. Credit: Darrian Traynor/Getty Images

“I think he had some ankle issues during the game. We’ll go through that tomorrow.”

Cotton still scored 29 points, including 16 in the final quarter, as he dragged the scores back to level pegging.

But Nathan Sobey starred for Brisbane with 31 points and Vic Law was influential with 23 points.

Todd Blanchfield and John Mooney both finished with 20 points each for Perth and Mooney also managed nine rebounds, but the Bullets won the rebounding 42-35.

Perth looked flat early and trailed by 11 points after less than four minutes. Gleeson said lapses of concentration proved costly for his team.

“We started the game 4-15 so that’s not a world we want to live in. Then we were playing catch up,” he said.

“I thought the guys played their hearts out and gave the effort and everything we wanted to do there. There were a few concentration issues on the glass and some bad rotations for us and silly fouls that took them to the foul line.

“It was a combination of those things but it was only three points. We gave the effort. We just need to improve our concentration.

“You’ve got to be on-point. Guys coming off the bench weren’t ready to shoot the ball and play. It’s disappointing in that part.”

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Adelaide Crows draft pick Riley Thilthorpe stars in SANFL trial against Port Power


The Crows are likely staring at back-to-back bottom four seasons for the first time in their history but there’s one giant ray of light in Adelaide and his name is Riley Thilthorpe.

The number two pick in last year’s draft has the future of the club resting on his young shoulders and early signs suggest he’s up to the task.

Thilthorpe, 18, has had an interrupted preparation for his first AFL season but played a full game in Adelaide’s seconds on Saturday and had locals frothing over his performance.

While Joe Daniher shone on debut for the Lions, the 200cm key forward put on a show at Alberton Oval.

After kicking his first goal from a free kick after a Port Adelaide opponent broke the new “stand rule”, Thilthorpe broke the game open in the third quarter, taking several contested marks inside 50m.

He finished with four goals and also dished off a couple in Adelaide’s 14-point win, prompting former Port Adelaide player Kane Cornes to declare the Crows “will be forced to play him” in the senior side “very soon”.

Thilthorpe has been told a round one berth is a definite possibility and he’s been tipped to feature in the Crows’ next trial game, another hitout against Port this Sunday.

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Victorian government offers cash bonuses for job seekers to pick fruit and vegetables in regional areas


The Victorian Government has offered cash incentives of up to almost $2,500 to encourage more job seekers to take up seasonal work.

The government has committed $10 million for sign-on bonuses for workers who complete at least 10 days of work in one month.

The payments will be spilt, with $810 paid after two weeks of work and a further payment of $1,620 after an additional six weeks of work has been done.

Minister for Agriculture Mary-Anne Thomas said the difficulty facing growers right now sparked the need for further enticements for job seekers to take up fruit picking jobs.

Ms Thomas said the payments had been split in case workers could not handle the entire eight weeks of work to get the full bonus amount.

“It’s hard work and some people may want to give it a go and find out after two weeks that perhaps they are not able to continue because it is hard physical work.”

Mooroopna grower Peter Hall said while he welcomed any assistance from the state government, Australians had always been reluctant to take up fruit harvesting work.

“The real issue for our industry, and I think for agriculture generally, is getting a sustainable workforce that enjoys and welcomes harvest labour and the demands of that.”

Mr Hall said to some extent the cash incentives came too late in the season for some growers with pears about to finish up.

“Whether or not they are going to be able to offer enough work for someone to do that and complete that to get the payment is probably debatable as well.”

While finding workers to come work in orchards has always been an issue for growers, Mr Hall said this year had been challenging.

“It’s very tense for farmers to watch this happening,” he said.

Food manufacturer SPC, which sources fruit and vegetables from the Goulburn Valley, has also welcomed the announcement.

CEO Robert Giles said it was great to have something like this in place while growers waited for Pacific Islander workers to come.

“I like the way they have structured it. I think it’s clever. It encourages people to start and give them something for 10 days and then encourages them to stay longer.”

SPC has seen strong demand for its products and has increased its fruit intake from the Goulburn Valley by 40 per cent this year.

Mr Giles said challenges with getting fruit off trees could have a flow-on effect on their production line.

“We start making choices about which products we can keep and which ones we have to work with our customers on phasing out.

“I would hate for that to give the opportunity for international products to come into the market to fill the gap,” he said.

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