Citrus Australia welcomes new Agriculture Visa
23 August 2021
Citrus Australia CEO Nathan Hancock welcomes the Federal Government announcement that the Seasonal Workforce Agriculture Visa will be in place by September 30 this year.
Federal Agriculture Minister David Littleproud announced the new agriculture visa for workers from all ten ASEAN countries in June.
The visa will be open to applicants from a range of countries and will be available to skilled, semi-skilled and unskilled workers.
“We recognise that Minister Littleproud has seized on the opportunity for industry and appreciate the Federal Government has now backed its implementation,” Mr Hancock said.
In doing so the government has recognised the contribution of the agriculture sector to the national economy and the importance of supporting the thousands of farmers across Australia struggling to manage the impacts of the pandemic.
“Growers across all sectors this year, who contribute billions of dollars to the national economy and rural and regional Australia, have suffered significant financial losses, and great mental stress, due to the severe labour shortage,” Mr Hancock said.
“On behalf of them, we thank the government for committing all government departments to work together on delivering the agriculture visa.”
The visa will be open to applicants from a range of countries and will be available to skilled, semi-skilled and unskilled workers. The government will begin industry consultations to understand needs across the agriculture sector, with all citrus growers to be represented by Citrus Australia.
“Citrus Australia sees the agriculture visa as an important component of a reformed and sustainable agricultural workforce,” Mr Hancock said.
“Structural change to the horticulture workforce is imperative to the future growth of this burgeoning industry.
“The agriculture visa not only provides confidence to our citrus growers to continue to invest in their export programs, but enables them to focus on attracting returning workers to their farms and pack sheds, leading to increased efficiencies in their business.
“We are confident the proposed visa will complement the Seasonal Worker Programme and Pacific Labour Scheme, which remain vitally important to the citrus industry.
“The ag visa provides another avenue, particularly to smaller citrus businesses, to recruit skilled, semi-skilled and unskilled workers, and provides incentive to invest in them.
“We look forward to seeing the detail of the scope the ag visa will deliver. We look forward to contributing to the visa framework to ensure it benefits both growers and ASEAN workers who want to build a career in the agriculture industry.”
For further information, contact Stephen Cooke, Industry Engagement Manager, Citrus Australia, on 0427 124 437 or firstname.lastname@example.org