The Fair Farms Initiative aims to ensure that workers are treated fairly while they are employed in horticultural farms and pack houses.

While most growers aim to do the right thing, it can be challenging to ensure that employment procedures and record keeping systems are fully compliant with workplace relations laws. This can lead to misapplication of pay rates or other errors that disadvantage workers.

And sadly, there are businesses in our industry that purposefully exploit farm workers, which attracts significant media coverage and tarnishes the reputation of the industry as a whole. This increases the risk of losing workers to other industries – or even other travel destinations.

The Fair Farms Initiative has been established to tackle these issues. The Initiative supports growers with tools and information to implement employment practices that comply with workplace relations laws and industry standards – and to demonstrate this to customers and the wider community.

This national project is being delivered by Growcom with seed funding from the Fair Work Ombudsman.

While it has a focus on vulnerable workers, the initiative aims to benefit all workers and growers in the longer term. Growcom is working closely with state and national horticulture industry groups, retailers and supply chain stakeholders to ensure the initiative meets the needs of all industry members.

Fair Farms certification scheme

The Fair Farms Initiative gives industry an opportunity to establish a practical market recognition scheme that enables farm businesses to demonstrate that their employment practices comply with Australian laws and industry standards.

The development of the scheme is timely. There is an increasing global public focus on ethical supply chains and ‘modern slavery’. In Australia, there has been significant media coverage of underpayment, exploitation or mistreatment of workers on farms and food packing or processing facilities. In response, Australian retailers have adopted responsible or ethical sourcing policies and are looking at how these will be implemented with their fresh produce suppliers.

The Fair Farms certification scheme will offer

  • A code of practice that clearly outline what farm businesses must do to comply with employment laws and industry standards
  • An online self-assessment against the code
  • Training options
  • Third party auditing and certification, if required

The scheme will be piloted with a number of farm businesses during 2018 to ensure it delivers fairness for workers, assurance to customers and the community, and a practical process for growers.

Introducing the Fair Farms Initiative team

Jane Muller
Growcom Fair Farms Initiative Project Mananger

Rachel Mackenzie
Growcom Policy Advisor and Stakeholder Liaison

Donna Mogg
DLM Consulting Horticulture Workplace Relations Specialist

Rebecca Myers
Growcom Workplace Relations Advisor and Hort360 Facilitator

Clare Hamilton-Bate
Freshcare Certification Advisor

For further information contact:

Jane Muller
jmuller@growcom.com.au
07 3620 3844

For a workplace relations risk assessment:

Rebecca Myers
rmyers@growcom.com.au
07 3620 3844

The Fair Farms Initiative is supported by the Fair Work Ombudsman
through the Community Engagement Grants Program.