National Farmers' Federation

Farmers peachy keen for Agricultural Visa

Cherries at Christmas and peach-topped Pavlovas are as Australian as backyard cricket, but the nation’s summer fruit harvest is again under threat.
“Our peaches, nectarines, mangoes and cherries are almost ripe for the picking,” NFF President Fiona Simson said.
“Unfortunately, again this season, growers will struggle to hire the workers they need to pick the fruits of their labour.”
Ms Simson said farmers were buoyed by Agriculture Minister, David Littleproud’s support for an Agricultural Visa yesterday.
“An Agricultural Visa would cater specifically for the acute skill shortages facing agriculture, including fruit pickers and packers. Our sector already relies heavily on migrant labour.”
Ms Simson said the industry was committed to developing a domestic labour force but this alone was not the answer.
“Research and experience demonstrates that we need migrant workers to meet the farm sector’s needs.
“Many agricultural tasks are short-term and/or seasonal. Often these arrangements aren’t attractive to local workers, who have ongoing financial commitments and longer term career aspirations.”
Ms Simson said Australian fruit was in high demand internationally.
“We believe citrus will be one of the big winners in the recent Indonesia-Australia Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (IA-CEPA) and nectarine growers are already benefiting for improved access to China.
“However, if we don’t have the people-power needed to get fruit from paddock to plate, the complete benefits of these opportunities won’t be realised.
“We thank Minister Littleproud and his Government colleagues for their support for an Agricultural Visa.
“The NFF has a vision for farm gate output to reach $100 billion by 2030.
“Currently agriculture’s growth is being constrained by an inadequate workforce.
“We’re calling on a bi-partisan approach to putting the policy settings in place needed to ensure farmers can do what they do best – feed the world,” Ms Simson said.

Add comment