De­bate on ag visa still on­go­ing

Central and North Rural Weekly - - COLUMN -

❝can’t You just change leg­is­la­tion, you can’t just put visas in overnight. — Michael Mc­Cor­mack

CAB­I­NET min­is­ters are still de­bat­ing the mer­its of an agri­cul­ture work­ers visa, de­spite the Deputy Prime Min­is­ter Michael Mc­Cor­mack’s ad­mis­sion that the sum­mer har­vest sea­son is “fast upon us”.

Mr Mc­Cor­mack told a Ru­ral Press Club fo­rum in Mel­bourne that cab­i­net dis­cus­sions over the visas re­mained “on­go­ing”.

“These sorts of things take cab­i­net pro­cesses; you can’t just change leg­is­la­tion, you can’t just put visas in overnight,” he said.

“We have ob­vi­ously made it front and cen­tre, be­cause ob­vi­ously the sea­son is fast upon us. We will con­tinue to dis­cuss it at fu­ture cab­i­net meet­ings.

“It is one of those things which we re­alise has to be thought prop­erly through.”

Mr Mc­Cor­mack told the gath­er­ing the needs of South Pa­cific Is­lan­der work­ers should also not be jeop­ar­dised un­der any new visa sys­tem.

“We will get the nec­es­sary work­force in … our fruit will be picked, our crops will be har­vested.”

Mr Mc­Cor­mack said de­vel­op­ing the visa was Agri­cul­ture Min­is­ter David Lit­tleproud’s re­spon­si­bil­ity and he had “every faith that he will be able to do it”.

Dur­ing his ad­dress to the Ru­ral Press Club, Mr Mc­Cor­mack urged the me­dia to re­port pos­i­tive sto­ries of farm­ers.

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