Citrus Australia has asked Victorian Premier Dan Andrews to appoint a Commissioner of Horticultural Labour and Accommodation to manage solutions to the current horticulture crisis. Citrus Australia CEO Nathan Hancock said extreme shortages in both labour – short-term and long-term, skilled and unskilled – and accommodation will get worse without direct intervention.
“The tripartite agreement between government, industry and Unions signed at the recent Jobs and Skills Summit highlights these issues and this presents an opportunity for Victoria to lead the way by appointing a Commissioner of Horticultural Labour and Accommodation to address these housing and labour shortages in our state,” he said.
“These issues are having a significant impact on the current and future viability of fresh food production in this state, the mental health of horticultural growers, and the economic prosperity of the regions surrounding Mildura, Robinvale, Shepparton and Cobram. The citrus industry alone in Victoria is valued at $230 million, and other significant industries include table grapes, stone fruit and almonds.
“We have contacted the Premier to express our considered view that a Commissioner of Horticultural Labour and Accommodation is required to direct and lead the government departments involved in necessary solutions.”