Good grow­ers should have good work­ers

Central and North Rural Weekly - - NEWS - Grow­com CEO

EX­PLOITA­TION of work­ers has again hit the head­lines fol­low­ing the re­lease of the Fair Work Om­buds­man’s Har­vest Trail In­quiry re­port last week, high­light­ing the need for train­ing and cer­ti­fi­ca­tion pro­grams such as Fair Farms.

For the past two years, Grow­com has been de­vel­op­ing the Fair Farms train­ing and cer­ti­fi­ca­tion pro­gram to tackle worker ex­ploita­tion head on and ad­dress the is­sues raised by the FWO in the re­port.

Grow­com has zero tol­er­ance for worker ex­ploita­tion and grow­ers who do the right thing are sick of the sec­tor’s rep­u­ta­tion be­ing dragged through the mud by poor op­er­a­tors who don’t pay their work­ers prop­erly or use il­le­gal work­ers.

The Fair Farms train­ing and cer­ti­fi­ca­tion pro­gram is de­signed to ef­fec­tively shut out the dodgy grow­ers from the sup­ply chain through an in­de­pen­dent third-party au­dit mech­a­nism sup­ported by train­ing.

While the fig­ures in the re­port are very con­cern­ing, there are still a sig­nif­i­cant num­ber of grow­ers who are fully com­pli­ant, and we want to re­ward these grow­ers through the cer­ti­fi­ca­tion mech­a­nism within Fair Farms.

Fun­da­men­tally, we want to make it easy for good grow­ers to get good work­ers so the Aus­tralian pub­lic can get good fresh pro­duce.

With sup­port from ma­jor re­tail­ers, the pi­lot phase is cur­rently un­der way, and we are work­ing to­wards hav­ing the pro­gram op­er­a­tional by early 2019.

To as­sist in the roll­out, Grow­com has ap­pointed Thomas Her­tel as the pro­gram man­ager for the Fair Farms train­ing and cer­ti­fi­ca­tion pro­gram.

Grow­com will con­tinue to work closely with the FWO to im­ple­ment the rec­om­men­da­tions of the re­port but we will also push for the devel­op­ment of a hor­ti­cul­ture work­force strat­egy to ad­dress some of the un­der­ly­ing labour sup­ply is­sues within the sec­tor.

For more in­for­ma­tion visit c www.grow­com.com.au/fair farm­sini­tia­tive.

PHOTO: CON­TRIB­UTED

FAIR PLAY: Thomas Her­tel has been ap­pointed Fair Farms project man­ager.

DAVID THOM­SON

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