Tuesday, 07 June 2022 13:55

New Aussie ag minister

Written by  Sudesh Kissun
Australia's new Agriculture Minister Murray Watt. Australia's new Agriculture Minister Murray Watt.

Australian farmers hope that the new Labor Government will help ease chronic worker shortages crippling the agriculture sector.

The issue will now be on the plate of Murray Watt, the new Agriculture Minister.

There is now concern around the future of the Agriculture Visa Programme (Ag Visa), introduced by the former Liberal/National Government with the backing of peak farmer body National Farmers Federation.

During the election campaign, Labor had rejected Ag Visa but had agreed to honour a deal to bring in Vietnamese workers into Australia.

Instead, it plans to extend the established Palm (Pacific Australia Labor Mobility) scheme, effectively cancelling Ag Visa which provides new visa for forestry, fishery, and farm workers targeting workers from south-east Asia.

AUSVEG, Australia's industry body for vegetable and potato growers, says that ensuring the Ag Visa meets the needs of producers is a high priority for the industry. Chief executive Michael Coote says the Ag Visa was designed to be a long-term structural change for the industry to access a more efficient and effective workforce and reduce its reliance on working holiday makers.

"Labor's plan for the Ag Visa leading into the election will limit the pool of workers to those that the industry already had access to through existing seasonal worker programs."

He says they will be advocating with Watt, the new Agriculture Minister, to advocate strongly for the Ag Visa to be extended to increase the pool of workers available to fruit and vegetable growers as a high priority. National Farmers Federation president Fiona Simson says labour shortage tops the list of priorities for farmers.

"The NFF and its members worked tirelessly to develop election priorities to benefit our farmers and all Australians," she says.

Simson welcomed the appointment of Senator Watt a Agriculture Minister. She says farmers will work with the new Labor Government.

Tanya Plibersek is the Minister for Environment and Water, another portfolio critical to farmers.

More like this

Oz Ag Minister

OPINION: The polls were right. Australia's general election has seen Scott Morrision booted out of office by a Covid-fatigued population looking for change.


Hole-in-one a lucky shot overseas

A calf born at a Waikato Holstein Friesian stud has stunned her owner with her incredibly high credentials – surpassing his hope that she was going to be one out of the box.

McClay to visit India

Agriculture and Trade Minister Todd McClay plans to visit India in the next fortnight, his first trade mission since the formation of the Government.

Norco bounces back from flood

Australia's largest dairy co-operative Norco is back making ice cream, 18 months after a catastrophic flood destroyed its manufacturing plant.

Political turmoil hits Dutch farm buy-out scheme

While New Zealand seems to be treading water on the subject of pricing emissions and the future of He Waka Eke Noa (HWEN), pending a new government, the Netherlands has been clearer on its proposed farm buy-out scheme, as part of its effort to reduce nitrogen emissions by at least 55% by 2030.


Hoggard 'really excited'

Incoming Minister for Food Safety and Biosecurity Andrew Hoggard says he’s “really excited” to get those roles.

Prevention better than cure

The New Zealand Veterinary Association Te Pae Kīrehe (NZVA) is calling on animal owners to work with their veterinarian to…

Machinery & Products

Simple, practical hay rakes

Grassland specialists Kuhn has extended its Gyrorake offering with the addition of the GA 8731+ and GA 9531+ models.

Bucket grab gets it done!

Swedish implement manufacturer Quicke is expanding its Powergrab series with two new models – designed for silage handling with front-end,…

» The RNG Weather Report

» Latest Print Issues Online

The Hound


OPINION: This old mutt understands that a number of high profile sheep studs are unhappy with Beef+ Lamb Genetics’ recent…

Still bludging!

OPINION: Your canine crusader is astounded at the sheer cojones of webbased media company Newsroom and its wont to cadge…

» Connect with Rural News

» eNewsletter

Subscribe to our weekly newsletter