Peak body slams farm work plan
FARMERS have slammed a plan by the Morrison Government to push the unemployed into farm jobs, calling it a “shallow attempt at solving a deep problem”.
In a bid to please farmers’ concerns about a lack of seasonal workers, the Coalition has unveiled a plan to axe dole payments for jobless Australians who refuse farm work.
Under the plan, farmers will be required to report job vacancies to a provider, who will help them find local workers.
National Farmers’ Federation president Naomi Simson said the policy would do little to fix the shortage.
“Their plan to encourage workers on to farms using a carrot and stick approach might be well intentioned but shows a lack of understanding of the issue,” Ms Simson said.
“We want Australians to fill jobs on Aussie farms … but the reality is this latest attempt is unlikely to bear fruit.”
Ms Simpson renewed calls for the introduction of an agricultural visa to boost foreign workers in regional areas.
The proposal has divided the Coalition with senior Cabinet members claiming it could jeopardise opportunities for Pacific workers who come to Australia under the Seasonal Worker Program and the Pacific Labour Scheme.
“If the Government will not deliver an agricultural visa in the short term, we need dedicated changes to the existing schemes that will make a difference to farmers this season,” Ms Simson said.