Availability of labour among the key issues for APAL advocacyIndustry Advocacy
APAL has identified four key points of advocacy that are of current interest, with the short-term availability of labour a key focus.
Continuing to rebuild after the summer’s bushfires, establishing the National Netting Program, monitoring the COVID-19 situation and how it impacts labour, and the United States’ request for access to the Australian market are the key pillars of focus for APAL’s advocacy program currently.
APAL sees the current COVID-19 situation, in particular how it affects the availability of seasonal workers, as a priority.
Concerns Australian growers could struggle to fill jobs this coming summer are widespread, with farmers in other industries already feeling the impacts of a loss of backpackers and seasonal workers.
“There has been significant work done already with State and Federal Governments,” says APAL Head of Government Relations Jeremy Griffith.
“The outbreak of the virus within agricultural regions is still a major concern that the Government have at the moment, and we need to continue to ensure our industry manages this risk.
“We’ll keep working with our industry to mitigate the risks of the virus in growing regions.”
APAL has been in continuous dialogue with Hort Innovation and national representative body National Farmers Federation (NFF) on the issue of labour availability.
Currently, both bodies are running surveys asking for input into workforce requirements. The surveys will help develop effective solutions which can be presented to Government.
NFF Chief Executive Tony Mahar said that COVID-19 was having an impact on farmers and the availability of farm workers – particularly in areas where demand is already high.
“We are aware that our horticulture sector, in particular, is facing worse-than-usual labour shortages as a result of the COVID-19 travel restrictions,” Mr Mahar said in a statement.
“The NFF, through its Horticulture Council, is working with members and industry representatives about the issue and will continue to work with Government to ensure Australian agriculture has access to secure a job workforce.”
One of the best ways growers can get involved is to complete the surveys, which only take about 5 minutes each.
Click here to complete the National Farmers Federation Farm Workforce Survey.
Click here to complete Hort Innovation’s seasonal workforce survey.