Seasonal workers are a critical source of labour for our food supply chain.
Backpacker numbers have plummeted as a result of the coronavirus pandemic and the horticulture sector fears it won’t be able to secure the workforce it needs for harvest.
Despite the pressures, a group of unions is attacking our responsible, sustainable agriculture sector with a malicious campaign to axe the Working Holiday Maker (WHM) visa scheme.
Farmers deserve our support, not to be used as a political football in a union campaign that’s based on unsubstantiated allegations of mistreatment of workers.
Farmers rely on both local and migrant workers to harvest food and fibre that ends up on Victorians’ tables and exported across the world – the WHM program is integral for them getting the workforce to continue that work.
According to industry, axing this visa will cost our nation $13 billion, gut $6.3 billion from the horticulture industry and lead to a 60 per cent increase in what consumers pay for fresh produce.
If there’s not enough workers to get fruit off the trees in time, it’ll be left to rot.
The Liberal Nationals will stand-up for our farmers, not let them be attacked and bullied by union-backed Labor.
Agriculture Minister Jaclyn Symes can no longer sit idly by – she must act and find a workable solution before farmers put the for sale sign on the front gate.
Leader of The Nationals
Shadow Minister for Agriculture