AUSVEG, Australia’s industry body for the vegetable and potato sectors, has welcomed funding included in the Mid-Year Economic and Fiscal Outlook on key areas that will directly benefit growers and the broader industry.
According to AUSVEG National Manager – Public Affairs Tyson Cattle, commitments from the government on practical initiatives that will benefit producers on-the-ground, as well as the broader industry, give producers confidence to invest in their businesses and demonstrate that the government is listening to industry’s concerns.
“The inclusion of funding for key industry initiatives to address labour shortages, support exporting businesses and build resilience in the horticulture industry aligns with AUSVEG’s key industry priorities in the leadup to the upcoming 2022 Federal Election,” said Mr Cattle.
“The introduction of the Australian Agriculture Visa, and the Pacific Australian Labour Mobility scheme are significant for the Australian vegetable and potato industry, which relies heavily on an efficient and reliable workforce to get its produce to market.
“These initiatives also include critical funding for the Fair Work Ombudsman – AUSVEG has been a vocal supporter for a well-resourced, well-funded Fair Work Ombudsman to support education, compliance and enforcement in the horticulture industry.
“We welcome these important funding inclusions in the Mid-Year Economic and Fiscal Outlook and look forward to working with the government on further measures that can help improve the outlook for the vegetable and potato sectors moving forward,” said Mr Cattle.
Key funding initiatives that are outlined in the Mid-Year Economic and Fiscal Outlook include:
- $87.2 million over four years to introduce the AgVisa.
- $81.3 million over four years to increase Pacific labour mobility, including: supporting an additional 12,500 Pacific workers under the Pacific Labour Scheme by 2022 to address workforce shortages in regional Australia; and establishing the Pacific Australia Labour Mobility (PALM) scheme as an uncapped, demand driven program by consolidating the Seasonal Worker Programme and the Pacific Labour Scheme.
- The extension of the AgMove program trial and provision of additional funding for providers of Harvest Trail Services to continue delivering assistance to more participants.
- $65 million over four years to build resilience in the horticulture sector by protecting crops from extreme weather events and fruit fly pests, expanding the trial Horticultural Netting Program and managing fruit fly pests through new post-harvest treatment infrastructure, upgrading quarantine stations, and investing in Sterile Insect Technique capabilities.
- An additional $154.5 million over four years to support Australian exporters, modernise Australia’s trade system and streamline border clearance services, including $37 million for digital upgrades to improve biosecurity clearance processes and facilitate cross border trade.
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