AgVisa and fair pricing top election prioritiesNews
The federal election is expected to be called in the next week or so. In the lead up to the election, APAL, alongside the wider horticulture industry, has developed an election platform on which to lobby all political parties.
Our top priorities are the on-going protection of industry to ensure growers receive a fair price for their produce and the introduction of the AgVisa.
Fair price from retailers
Without doubt, this season is turning out to be one of the toughest on record for Australia’s apple and pear growers. Industry continues to report that they are receiving well below the cost of production. Further, the underlying cost base of labour, fuel and fertiliser inputs is increasing dramatically.
APAL is actively lobbying to seek support for sustainable pricing from the federal government. As a result of on-going lobbying David Littleproud, federal Agriculture minister, visited growers this week in the Goulburn Valley where industry concerns were tabled. In addition, APAL continues to engage directly with the ACCC to see what measures are available to assist industry.
Underpinning this work is cost of production studies that clearly highlight the cost pressures the industry continue to face.
Implementation of AgVisa
The federal government has recently introduced the Australian Agriculture Visa (AgVisa) and announced a Memorandum of Understanding with Vietnam. Discussions are also underway with India. These are positive moves but at this stage we do not have a clear date as to when the first workers will arrive.
APAL is requesting both political parties prioritise this process. While there is clear commitment from the Coalition, the Labour party has so far refused to commit to the process. They have, however, recognised the need to address labour issues in agriculture.
Other issues APAL is pursuing this election are:
- Permanent continuation of the Instant Asset Write-Off extension, including for netting and accommodation
- Reprioritisation of Hort Innovation (HIA) to ensure focussed and meaningful R&D spend, prioritising orchard automation and digitisation
- On-going investment in National Netting Program
- Development of dam seepage and evaporation programs
- Continued and increased investment in biosecurity
- Enforcement of ethical employment of labour on a national basis.