Dealing with labor shortages or facing food security crisis: Australian opposition leader warns

National Party leader David Littleproud Said The agricultural industry is currently facing a labor shortage of more than 170,000 workers, and this will get worse if the federal government abolishes farm visas, Nationals said.

Little Proud warned that the shortage could push Australia dangerously close to a food security crisis, further increasing the cost of living.

“Rural Australia is in the midst of a workforce crisis and this will affect just about every industry you can think of,” he said in a press release. We need to secure it, otherwise the effects of this shortage will continue for a long time to come.”

Nationals leaders said many farmers were planning not to plant their crops for next season because there would not be enough workers to harvest them. This could lead to supply constraints and further price increases.

Currently, the Albanian government Labor mobility in Pacific Australia Plans to bring migrant workers into the country. On April 22, the government introduced his two new visa programs, the Seasonal Worker Program and the Pacific Labor Scheme.

Workers criticized for revoking agricultural visas

Little Proud criticized the labor government’s response, saying the scheme limited the government’s response to the labor crisis. decision Suspend the agricultural visa program. The original agreement was set up under the former Free Nationals government with countries like Vietnam to procure workers.

“On the contrary, they were aware of the labor shortage. But when they came to the government they were given a solution. [Australian Worker’s Union] And tear it up,” said Little Proud.

Nationals leaders said the scheme is currently being leveraged to find workers in the aged care sector, with about 50,000 workers available.

“We didn’t have to start this from scratch. Skills visas will change the dial on cost of living pressure.”

Farmers oppose opposition, seek more help

The National Farmers Federation (NFF), part of the Food Supply Chain Alliance (FSCA), agreed with LittleProud that the only area the federal government could work on to curb inflation is the agriculture sector.

“This is one of the few ‘cost of living’ pressures that governments can influence. We believe this should be a priority at the upcoming Jobs and Skills Summit, which must provide a viable solution for NFF said in a media release.

FSCA represents over 160,000 businesses with combined revenues of over $200 billion (US$139 billion) and is supported by the National Farmers Federation, Australian Meat Industry Council, Australian Seafood Industry, Australian Independent Food Distributors, AUSVEG. , Master Grocers Australia, Restaurant and Catering Industry Association, and Australian Convenience Stores Association.

Tony Mahar, CEO of the National Farmers Federation, said struggles in the agricultural sector would flow into the waist pockets of everyday Australians.

“Farmers have made the difficult choice not to plant some crops because there is no guarantee that they will have workers for the harvest. It’s a simple equation: we need the right visa solutions to attract workers and ensure they’re treated fairly,” Maher said.

Victoria Kelly-Clark


Victoria Kelly-Clark is an Australia-based reporter focusing on the national politics and geopolitical environment in the Asia-Pacific region, the Middle East and Central Asia.