Agricultural industries including cropping and dairy along the Murray are set to benefit from the Agricultural Worker Visa, which is going to provide a long term, reliable workforce for these critical industries.
Senator for NSW, Perin Davey said the Visa will help solve one of the great challenges facing regional Australia in recent history, being workforce shortages.
“Since working holiday makers stopped coming due to border closures, I have taken many calls from farmers across the State looking for help to fill both skilled and unskilled positions,” Senator Davey said.
“The Murray is a vital dairy region producing milk for domestic and international markets, but they have struggled to find staff even despite paying above award.
“Agricultural workforce shortages are a growing problem and I am proud that the Nationals have been able to deliver on this crucial issue.
Senator Davey said the agriculture visa will be in place no later than 30 September of this year, with the full implementation of this demand driven visa complete within 3 years.
“The visa will complement existing workers visas including the Seasonal Worker Program and Pacific Island Program and will be open to applicants from a range of countries.
“We’ve listened to our communities and our industries, and this is what they’ve asked for. This will help keep businesses in the Hunter knowing that the future of regional Australia is bright and prosperous,” she said.
Deputy Leader of the Nationals and Minister for Agriculture, David Littleproud said the agriculture workforce shortage has become increasingly urgent due to COVID.
“While our farmers and industries have gone about their work keeping Australians and the world fed and clothed, they have done so under workforce constraints,” Minister Littleproud said.
“With the changes to the Working Holiday Maker program following the UKFTA, the Government knew this was the time to put the agriculture visa in place.
“This is a structural change to the agricultural workforce. It gives our farmers a confidence to know they can go and plant a crop and know that they’ll be able to get it off.
“It will complement the Pacific programs we have got in place, and we will also be considering permanent residency options under the new Ag visa.”