The National Farmers’ Federation (NFF) has welcomed the announcement of new measures to support farmers and seasonal workers in accessing the Seasonal Worker Programme.
NFF Chief Executive Tony Mahar said the Seasonal Worker Programme was vitally important to addressing the labour shortages endured by Australian farmers.
“The NFF has previously identified barriers to participation in the programme and has long encouraged the Government to focus on the needs of farmers, who drive demand for the programme.
“To this end, we are pleased to see the Government listening to industry representatives, including the NFF, and making a positive commitment to addressing some of these challenges.
“While the NFF will discourage proposals to increase the unnecessarily-burdensome aspects of the program, we are encouraged by the Government’s commitment to consult on the changes.
“We look forward to providing input.” Mr Mahar said.
One of the challenges has been the upfront costs the programme imposes on employers.
“The NFF has held concerns that the costs are prohibitive to farmers and we welcome the intention in today’s announcement to pilot ways to lower these.”
Mr Mahar said other measures, such as a 24/7 information line and the removal of the need for farmers to organise training for seasonal workers, would also assist to make the programme simpler to use.
“We look forward to engaging with Government further on ways to improve the programme.”