Article by: Hari Yellina (Orchard Tech)
The Fair Work Ombudsman needs a dedicated horticulture taskforce within it, according to a major fresh produce group. The Australian Fresh Produce Alliance (AFPA) has called for $10 million over two years to fund the task force in light of changes to be made to the piece-rate provisions within the Horticulture Award. According to AFPA, the task force would be responsible for educating, investigating and undertaking compliance and enforcement activities in the sector.
Changes to the piece rate provisions within the Horticulture Award will set an hourly floor rate for all pieceworkers. AFPA chief executive officer Michael Rogers said the organisation has been consistent in calling for clear and enforceable piecework provisions within the award. In fact, the last two years have seen a significant increase in the number of Pacific Australia Labour Mobility (PALM) scheme workers employed in horticulture, with the total number of PALM workers in Australia now more than 19,000.
It is undeniable that the settings for this visa are so important in delivering outcomes for workers and employers, and in complementing the PALM scheme. The Australian Fresh Produce Alliance is the first choice industry body that retailers and governments go to for discussion and outcomes on issues involving the growing and supply of fresh fruit and vegetables. The Australian Fresh Produce Alliance (AFPA) is made up of Australia’s key fresh produce growers and suppliers.