Article by: Hari Yellina
Citrus Australia applauds Prime Minister Anthony Albanese and the new Labor administration on their election victory, and looks forward to helping them meet their pre-election promises on biosecurity, water security, skills-based education, trade diversification, and labour. “We look forward to working with Senator Murray Watt, the newly appointed Agriculture Minister, Tanya Plibersek, Education Minister Jason Clare, Skills and Training Minister Brendan O’Connor, and Trade Minister Don Farrell,” said Citrus Australia CEO Nathan Hancock. “I was encouraged by Prime Minister Albanese’s campaign statements about Labor’s devotion to bolstering biosecurity, incorporating recommendations from the 2019 Migrant Workers’ Taskforce report, and its plan for fee-free TAFE courses, as well as its dedication to give agriculture a direct say in skills training.”
“The citrus business contributes $900 million to the Australian economy, including $540 million in exports, and is critical to regional and rural communities’ economic and social well-being.” “Labor’s pre-election pledge to areas critical to keeping our industry healthy and supporting future growth was well appreciated. We now look forward to engaging with each Minister and their respective departments to ensure that our industry’s demands are recognised and met.” Additional funding for the Fair Work Ombudsman and the adoption of a National Labour Hire Registration Scheme are among the recommendations from the Migrant Workers’ Taskforce report. “Citrus Australia has long advocated for a National Labor Hire Licensing Scheme, which we believe will weed out shady labour hire companies and prevent worker abuse.”
“A strengthened FWO will also ensure that the handful of bad actors in our industry are identified and punished appropriately.” Citrus Australia has also requested vital cash and resources to complete the National Biosecurity Strategy, which would strengthen government capability and service provision, as well as funding for a three-year effort to map Australia’s citrus supply chain. “Plant biosecurity has long been underfunded, especially in comparison to animal biosecurity, and as a result, the industry is becoming increasingly susceptible.” “Plant biosecurity agencies require more financing and government support for the National Biosecurity Strategy, which is now being prepared and will give guidance until 2030.”
Citrus Australia applauds the incoming administration’s pre-election commitment to true trade diversification and will ask it to help through Ministerial and high-ranking government official representation. “Citrus Australia just received a government grant to help it grow export potential in India, and we would appreciate a more hands-on diplomatic approach to help us.” “Our export market sales have grown to as high as $540 million annually thanks to a lot of hard work and investment from all areas of business.” “Maintaining those markets, as well as developing new markets to accommodate industrial development, will need equal levels of work and dedication, and we urge the government to provide Ministerial representation on the front lines.”
Citrus Australia looks forward to collaborating with Labor to encourage Australian youth to pursue horticulture careers by funding collaborative industry initiatives to develop education programmes, revitalise existing traineeships, apprenticeships, and other tertiary education, and strengthen industry-university and TAFE partnerships. “We’re working on a programme to promote education and employment opportunities in the citrus business and horticulture in general.” “Right now, there is a big need for skilled and semi-skilled workers, but there isn’t a matching supply of students looking for jobs in our business.” “Not only will we tell high school and tertiary graduates, as well as teachers and parents, about the professional and lifestyle opportunities that a career in citrus may bring, but we will also provide industry help to them,” said the group.
“Working with growers and citrus enterprises to build internships, offering a conduit to industry experience and prospective apprenticeships, will be a part of this plan, and we look forward to exploring how government might help.” “It’s critical that the free TAFE courses Labor introduces generate the type of person that the sector need, that the subjects taught are appropriate for the modern-day horticulturists our business requires, and that they are up to date on technology and farm management methods.” Citrus Australia will seek meetings with each Minister to hear Labor’s plan and discuss industry requirements for water, including the Murray Darling Basin; labour, including the real need for an Ag Visa accessible to workers from all over the world; and water, including the real need for an Ag Visa accessible to workers from all over the world, according to Mr Hancock.
“We are confident that Labor’s commitment to enhance Pacific permanent migration, including entire families of PALM workers, would include solutions to the rural and regional accommodation shortage within the next 12 months.” “A comprehensive investment plan at all three levels of government is urgently needed, with planning and building rules aligned to attract and allow private investment.” “Increasing the availability of acceptable worker housing is important to the agriculture sector’s growth.”