In Parliament Minister Pulford has misrepresented the Victorian Farmers Federation (VFF) during debate on the Labour Hire Licensing Bill 2017. On multiple occasions, both Minister Hutchins and Minister Pulford have quoted VFF statements from 2015. They deliberately misrepresent the VFF policy position and current leadership.
In early 2017, the VFF made it clear we wanted action on problem labour hire firms but we would not support the proposed licensing bureaucracy. We wanted real action that would actually reduce worker exploitation. Despite numerous other groups being consulted during the drafting of this Bill and despite representing the industry this Bill is directed at; the VFF was not among those consulted.
Since 13th December 2017, when the Bill was introduced to the lower house, both Ministers have refused to meet with the leadership of the VFF Horticulture Group. Their departments only contacted the VFF on the 6th of February, while the Bill was being pushed through the lower house. This is not consultation.
During upper house debate, Minister Pulford made many statements regarding the VFF position. At no point has she accurately represented the in-depth analysis and extensive concerns our organisation has since the Bill was drafted. The VFF wants implementation of a national holistic horticultural labour policy. The exploitation of vulnerable workers and the current labour crisis needs action, not bureaucratic lip service.
Victorian Farmers Federation
President Victorian Farmers Federation