Australia’s peak industry body for vegetable and potato growers, AUSVEG, has called on both the major parties to commit to an Agriculture Visa and help the industry address major labour shortages.
With the Federal Election now less than five weeks away, industry has renewed calls for a solution to horticulture’s significant challenge of finding workers for various roles on-farm.
“Supporting our growers is one of the key messages in AUSVEG’s priorities for the Federal Election, known as SPROUT: Growing a better future,” AUSVEG CEO James Whiteside said.
“AUSVEG, together with other industry bodies in horticulture, has long been advocating for a solution to our labour issue.
“With an election looming, now is the time for both major parties to make a strong commitment to the future viability, profitability and growth of our industry.”
Labour is the largest individual cost for many horticulture farm businesses, so accessing the right labour and the most efficient labour is crucial.
“There are growers who need workers now, otherwise fruit and vegetables will not be harvested and will be left to rot, leading to unnecessary cost and waste,” he said.
Mr Whiteside said AUSVEG is supportive of the major parties’ commitment to a National Labour Hire Licencing Scheme (Labor) and National Labour Hire Registration scheme (Coalition) as a step in the right direction, as it was also one of AUSVEG’s key messages in its SPROUT document.
“While it is a positive step to have these commitments from the major parties already, it will not be enough to address the crucial labour shortage affecting horticulture in the long-term. We are calling on all political parties to make a call on introducing an Agriculture Visa and allowing our industry to prosper with the right workforce,” Mr Whiteside said.
AUSVEG’s 2019 Federal Election priorities can be viewed at https://ausveg.com.au/sprout-growing-a-better-future/