NFF out­lines mea­sures needed to stim­u­late ag in­dus­try

North East & Goulburn Murray Farmer - - NEWS -

AC­CORD­ING to the Na­tional Farm­ers’ Fed­er­a­tion (NFF) the back­packer tax is only one of the im­por­tant is­sues re­quir­ing com­mit­ment from pol­icy mak­ers as the group launches its ‘Ac­cel­er­ate Agri­cul­ture’ fed­eral elec­tion 2016 cam­paign.

High­light­ing Aus­tralia’s agri­cul­tural work­force needs as part of the cam­paign, the NFF has iden­ti­fied a num­ber of key pol­icy re­form op­por­tu­ni­ties to boost the agri­cul­tural in­dus­try’s com­pet­i­tive­ness.

NFF pres­i­dent Brent Fin­lay said some other im­por­tant is­sues in­cluded adopt­ing the re­cent rec­om­men­da­tions of the Pro­duc­tiv­ity Com­mis­sion’s Review of the Work­place Re­la­tions Frame­work, in­clud­ing putting an end to the fouryearly mod­ern award review, a re­vised mod­ern awards ob­jec­tive that ac­com­mo­dates in­di­vid­ual sec­tor needs, new in­cen­tives to en­cour­age en­ter­prise bar­gain­ing in agri­cul­ture and changes to pro­tected in­dus­trial ac­tion rules.

Other key mea­sures in­clude en­sur­ing no new penalty rates are in­tro­duced into agri­cul­tural sec­tor awards, in­tro­duc­ing a new ded­i­cated visa stream for re­gional agri­cul­tural work and pro­mot­ing aware­ness of the sea­sonal worker pro­gram and es­tab­lish­ing an ad­min­is­tra­tion fund for the pro­gram to help en­cour­age greater up­take.

“Each of these are com­mon sense mea­sures that can be eas­ily im­ple­mented to truly help stim­u­late jobs and growth across what is Aus­tralia’s sec­ond largest ex­port sec­tor and a key con­trib­u­tor to the na­tional econ­omy,” Mr Fin­lay said.

“Agri­cul­ture is al­ready con­tribut­ing sig­nif­i­cantly to the na­tion but has enor­mous po­ten­tial to sub­stan­tially in­crease this in­put and be our next $100 bil­lion in­dus­try…we can­not em­pha­sise this enough.

“We call on our po­lit­i­cal can­di­dates to com­mit to play­ing their role in al­low­ing the in­dus­try to thrive by sup­port­ing pol­icy that will lead to ex­cep­tional re­sults.

“But we are also more broadly look­ing to the next gov­ern­ment to put in place sen­si­ble and sus­tain­able work­force poli­cies that sup­port in­dus­try con­sol­i­da­tion and growth over the next decade,” he said.

AC­CEL­ER­ATE AGRI­CUL­TURE: The NFF has high­lighted a num­ber of pol­icy re­forms needed to as­sist the ag sec­tor.

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