Labor denies industry the workforce it urgently needs
The Hon David Littleproud MP
Leader of The Nationals
22 August 2022
The Leader of The Nationals, David Littleproud has said the Labor Government is creating both a cost of living and food security crisis by listening to unions over farmers when the industry has already outlined the cause of higher prices at the checkout.
Mr Littleproud said for industry and farming groups to now quantify the workforce shortage in agriculture and food processing at over 170,000 workers shows that Labor’s policy to scrap the Ag Visa will steer the country dangerously towards a food security crisis.
Farmers have already begun to make decisions not to plant crops based on being unable to get the crop picked which means supply drops and prices go up.
Mr Littleproud said Labor is relying solely on the Coalitions PALM scheme and pure arithmetic will show they are limiting the farming and food processing sectors to only a fraction of what they can provide.
“The PALM Scheme, which the Government keeps pointing towards, is now also being drawn on for aged care and other industries with about 50,000 workers available.
“Regional Australia is in the middle of a workforce crisis and this impacts just about every industry you can think of.
“We need access to workers quickly otherwise the ramifications of this shortage will be felt for a long time to come.”
Mr Littleproud said the Labor Government has missed an opportunity to work constructively with industry on this issue but The Nationals will attend the Jobs Summit to prosecute a need for change to their current policy.
“There was no need to start from scratch on this. The Ag Visa, allowing pensioners and veterans to work more hours without impacting their payments and a Regional Skilled Visa that is broader than just agriculture and food processing would shift the dial for cost of living pressures.
“In Opposition, they were made aware of the workforce shortage. Yet when they came to Government they were given a solution, an agreement was already in place, yet they made a decision to side with the AWU and tear it up.”