National Farmers' Federation

Balanced workplace reform to create new jobs

The National Farmers’ Federation (NFF) has today welcomed the release of the Productivity Commission’s draft report on the Workplace Relations Framework.
NFF President Brent Finlay said the draft report is an important step toward reframing the workplace relations debate in Australia.
“As a nation, we need to be able to talk about workplace reform. It is a key driver of productivity and an important tool in creating more Australian jobs,” Mr Finlay said.
“Rural life and work are not the same as city life and work. Farms are governed by the realities of seasons, animals and crops. They don’t fit comfortably into standard rules designed for nine-to-five operations.
“We want to encourage farmers to create new job opportunities for people in rural and regional Australia. And to do that, we need a fairer, more balanced workplace system, which better accommodates work in agricultural industries.
“A good example is milking, which has to be done twice a day, and attracts a minimum of three hours’ pay each time. Not many farmers can afford to pay six hours’ wages for three or four hours’ work, so instead, they do it themselves.
“Restrictive rules that make employment unaffordable hold the productivity of Australian agriculture back. They put the health and safety of farmers and their families at risk, and dampen growth in rural communities.
“There is a great future for Australian agriculture, and we want all Australians to share in it. We look forward to ongoing participation in this inquiry, to make sure that the ultimate recommendations support a strong and sustainable farm sector,” Mr Finlay said.
The NFF submission to the Productivity Commission inquiry called for changes to the current framework to improve efficiency, while retaining fair pay and conditions for employees.

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