Growcom has enthusiastically welcomed confirmation today from the Federal Government that a new Australian Agriculture visa will be in place by the end of September. 

A new visa category to help better meet our growing seasonal harvest labour needs has long been advanced by Growcom. And the case for the visa has only gotten stronger with workforce shortages created by COVID-19, and recent changes to the Working Holiday Maker program developed as part of the UK-Australia Free Trade Agreement.

Growcom Chief Executive Stephen Barnard said news of the government’s commitment to the new visa would be a shot in the arm for growers looking to make long term investments in building their business. 

“For many businesses in the Australian horticulture industry, labour is their most significant input and single most expensive cost of production. With so much uncertainty around labour supply at the moment, business confidence across the sector had naturally taken a hit,” said Mr Barnard. 

“Landing this new visa for Australian agriculture is putting in place an important piece in completing our long term labour puzzle.

“Like any puzzle, determining the details of this visa piece are now going to be essential to ensure it fits neatly with existing pieces, and other pieces yet to be placed.

“With a likely loss of British backpackers looking for farm work as a result of the new UK Free Trade Agreement, the visa must be designed to meet both the need for workers to be flexible in terms of the jobs they’re able to take up along the harvest trail in a way similar to the backpackers they’re replacing, while also ensuring their employers meet public and industry expectations with regard their employment practices.

“We look forward to taking up the offer to engage with the Federal Government as they commence industry consultation and begin fleshing out details of the visa.”