NFF outlines measures needed to stimulate ag industry
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.