The National Farmers’ Federation (NFF) is calling on all farmers and rural employers to have their say on the impact of Australia’s employment laws on their businesses. Chair of the NFF Workplace Relations Committee, Charles Armstrong, says the independent reviews of both the Fair Work Act and the Modern Awards give employers their first opportunity to formally comment on the legislation since it was passed in 2009, and came into effect in 2010. “The Government has announced two reviews into the Act and the Awards, and we need farmers input on the issues and challenges they face in working within them,” Mr Armstrong said. “In developing the NFF submissions to these reviews, we have developed two surveys for farmers to directly provide their feedback – helping us to determine what changes farmers want to see. “What we have heard from our members and farmers across Australia to date is that there needs to be greater flexibility around farm employment. “Of particular concern are those aspects of the Act and the Awards that impact on farming competitiveness, productivity and workplace flexibility. “Farmers have told us that the onerous paperwork and red tape that employers currently have to wade through often impedes employment, and as a result, farmers have often been forced to invest in plant and machinery rather than hiring people. “At a time when Australia’s farms are facing a labour shortage of some 100,000 workers compared to pre-drought levels, we need to be doing all we can to encourage employment growth in agriculture, not hampering it. “As a result, the NFF will be calling on the review panel to reintroduce fairness and balance into the employment system,” Mr Armstrong said. The surveys can be found at the http://www.nff.org.au/review[NFF website], with responses from farmers and rural employers sought up until 10 February.