Citrus Australia commends government for agriculture visa

Citrus Australia commends the members of the Federal Government who have worked quickly to implement regulations for the new Australian Agriculture visa.

Federal Agriculture Minister David Littleproud announced the new agriculture visa for workers from all ten ASEAN countries in June, saying it would be implemented by September 30.

“There has been tremendous work behind the scenes by members of both Coalition parties, and by government departments, to implement regulations for the visa by the 30th of September as promised,” Citrus Australia CEO Nathan Hancock said.

“It is an important first step for a long-term, sustainable pathway to secure skilled, semi-skilled and unskilled workers for the citrus industry.

“The support of those within government who prioritised this visa has not gone unnoticed by industry.

“They have recognised the significant contribution of the agriculture sector to the national economy and the importance of supporting thousands of farmers.

“The skills shortage has been a long-term issue for growers and this visa will enable industry to arrest the decline.

“On behalf of them, we thank the government for committing all government departments to work together on delivering the agriculture visa.” 

Citrus Australia has been consulting its members on how the visa could be utilised by their businesses.

“We look forward to contributing to the visa framework to ensure it benefits growers and ASEAN workers who want to build a career in the agriculture industry,” Mr Hancock said.

“The agriculture visa will not only provide confidence to our citrus growers to continue to invest in their export programs, but enables them to focus on attracting returning workers to their farms and pack sheds, leading to increased efficiencies in their business.”

Mr Hancock said the visa will complement the Pacific Australia Labour Mobility program, which remains vitally important to the citrus industry. 

“The ag visa provides another avenue, particularly to smaller citrus businesses, to recruit skilled, semi-skilled and unskilled workers, and provides incentive to invest in them. 

“The Pacific Australia Labour Mobility program will continue to be an important method of recruiting workers from nations who have been badly hurt by cuts to tourism as a result of the pandemic, and will benefit greatly from this important avenue of employment.”

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