Expanded labour plan welcomed

By Country News

The VFF has welcomed the Federal Government’s announcement to progressively roll out the Pacific Labour Scheme across all Pacific island countries.

The current cap of 2000 places under the scheme will be lifted which will help address the significant workforce issues facing Victoria’s farmers.

VFF horticulture president Emma Germano said expanding the Pacific Labour Scheme would help by providing additional much-needed workers, and complement the currently uncapped Seasonal Worker Programme which is utilised widely in the horticulture sector.

However, neither initiative as currently formatted suits all growers.

‘‘Farmers around the country have proposed a solution to the workforce problems many farmers are facing, and that is the dedicated agricultural visa,’’ Ms Germano said.

‘‘Despite the welcome announced changes to the current visa arrangements, the Ag Visa remains as our core ask to deliver a solution to labour challenges.’’