The Victorian Farmers Federation (VFF) says decision makers need to stop passing the buck on their responsibilities for quarantining overseas seasonal workers and offer real solutions to fill the projected 24,000 vacant positions on farms across Australia in coming months.
VFF President Emma Germano said recent comments by Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews that the newly announced Ag Visa is ‘a fantasy’ is cold comfort for nervous farmers ahead of peak production times.
“Farmers are certainly not living in a fantasy world at the moment. The reality is our industry as a whole is facing labour shortages of more than 24,000 workers across Australia.”
“Once again farmers could be forced to plough crops into the ground and watch produce rot on tress again this year.”
“What we need is for the Victorian and Federal Governments to offer real, progressive and future-minded decisions and solutions and not resort to political point scoring with no real action.”
Ms Germano added that with the recently announced Ag Visa that is promised to be in place by 30 September 2021, the details of the quarantine arrangements needs to streamlined as a priority.
“The fact is it’s been more than 18 months since COVID-19 first arrived in Australia and our leaders are still feuding over quarantine arrangements and facilities.”
“We need our leaders to deliver a solution and a pathway forward immediately and we will be holding them to account on this,” Ms Germano said.