Gippsland › Latest news › Peter Walsh MP
Victorian growers need thousands - not hundreds - of workers to meet workforce demand
An extended seasonal worker deal with Tasmania will finally deliver workers into Victoria, but it will do little to fill the yawning shortage of pickers across the state.
Agriculture Minister Mary-Anne Thomas confirmed today 200 additional workers are finally set to arrive after quarantining through the Apple Isle, but it comes too little too late for growers already in the thick of harvest or planning for next season.
Shadow Minister for Agriculture Peter Walsh said farmers were desperate to avoid a repeat of last season, where millions of dollars of produce had to be ploughed into the ground or left on the trees to rot.
Victoria's farmers need more workers to help with this season's harvest regional areas will find it hard to carry on next year with the current conditions, any further delays with workforce will risk the products of the farm growers
Workforce shortage had spread
Mr Walsh said, "Victoria's bureaucratic hold ups that made it impossible to get labour into the state left too many growers short last year, unable to get the workforce they needed to get produce off the trees and out of the ground in time. Any further delays risk produce that would usually stock our supermarket shelves not being picked, and leave consumers facing shortages at the busy Christmas period.
"This year, the workforce shortages have spread through the sector, with cropping farmers struggling to find harvest operators and not enough shearers available to meet demand from our wool producers. Last year it was estimated 15,000 to 20,000 workers were needed in horticulture alone, they'll need the same this year - if not more." Mr Walsh continued.
Labor arrogantly refused to adopt
In north west Victoria, demand for workers is so high that a single orchardist could take all 200 workers that the Andrews Labor Government is patting itself on the back for delivering - let alone it makes a dent in the shortage facing the entire sector.
"The Andrews Labor Government had 18 months to find a long-term solution, but our growers are facing the same shortages again this season because Mary-Anne Thomas is missing-in-action and failing to make any genuine progress," Mr Walsh said.
"It's disappointing the Andrews Labor Government arrogantly refused to adopt industry's proposal for a dedicated quarantine facility at Mildura, which was backed by the Commonwealth. If they'd picked up on it, it would have delivered 200 workers every two weeks since December. Victoria needs a better pathway, a more secure pathway, that will deliver a larger pool of workers to meet demand." Mr Walsh said.
Pictures from Agriculture Victoria Facebook page.
Published by: firstname.lastname@example.org
Latest NewsBass Coast Shire Council 2022/23 Pathway Gaps Program
Gippsland High Country Hall of Fame gets $750,000 election pledge to determine its best location and design
Latrobe City celebrates Boorai Country Ceremony as part of Latrobe First 1000 Days Program connecting community and culture
Latrobe Magnesium invests $39M for stage one Magnesium Production Plant in Morwell
Community feedback wanted on Bass Coast Shire Economic Development Framework
Early closure of coal-fired power station AGL Loy Yang requires considered transition for Latrobe Valley and Victoria
Red Rocks Road Footpath upgrade in Cowes underway by Bass Coast Council
Australian Federal Police gets extended power for another 12 months by Federal parliament via Counter-Terrorism Legislation Amendment
East Gippsland health services to share in $325M Future Health Workforce Plan election pledge from Victorian Liberals and Nationals
Gaskin Park in Churchill gets election pledge of $4M upgrade for sporting hub by Victorian Liberals and Nationals