Agricultural industries including cropping and dairy along the Murray are set to benefit from the Agricultural Worker Visa, which will provide a long term, reliable workforce for these critical industries.
Nationals Senator for NSW Perin Davey said the Visa will help solve one of the great challenges facing regional Australia in recent history.
“Since working holiday makers stopped coming due to border closures, I have taken many calls from farmers across the state looking for help to fill both skilled and unskilled positions,” Senator Davey said.
“The Murray is a vital dairy region, producing milk for domestic and international markets, but they have struggled to find staff even despite paying above award.
“Agricultural workforce shortages are a growing problem, and I am proud that the Nationals have been able to deliver on this crucial issue.”
The agriculture visa will be in place no later than September 30 this year, with full implementation within 3 years.
“The visa will complement existing workers visas including the Seasonal Worker Program and Pacific Island Program and will be open to applicants from a range of countries,” Senator Davey said.
“We’ve listened to our communities and our industries, and this is what they’ve asked for. This will help keep businesses in the Hunter knowing that the future of regional Australia is bright and prosperous.”
Deputy Nationals leader and Agriculture minister David Littleproud said the agriculture workforce shortage has become increasingly urgent due to COVID.
“While our farmers and industries have gone about their work keeping Australians and the world fed and clothed, they have done so under workforce constraints,” Mr Littleproud said.
“With the changes to the Working Holiday Maker program following the UKFTA, the Government knew this was the time to put the agriculture visa in place.
“This is a structural change to the agricultural workforce. It gives our farmers a confidence to know they can go and plant a crop and know that they’ll be able to get it off.
“It will complement the Pacific programs we have got in place, and we will also be considering permanent residency options under the new Ag visa.”