Industry Reports

Impact on growers of the 2019 Horticulture Award changes to casual work hours

In 2019 the Fair Work Commission put into effect changes to the Horticulture Award, including the introduction of overtime and other penalty rates. In response, and with the support of many national and state based peak horticulture bodies, Growcom launched the survey ‘Measuring impacts of changes to the Horticulture Award’ designed to capture the real costs and consequences of these changes.

The survey ran from August 2019 and was closed in March 2020 as the pandemic began. We received a strong response to the survey, with over 280 grower respondents, collectively employing over 15,400 workers under the Award. 

Impact on growers of the 2019 Horticulture Award changes to casual work hours
Development Policy Centre, The Australian National University, Canberra

Results of the Growcom labour demand survey

During the COVID-19 pandemic in early 2020, labour markets in Queensland faced several challenges, due to the shut-down of service sectors and restrictions on movement, to limit the spread of the disease. Horticulture being a labour intensive industry within agriculture, entering its peak season at the time of restrictions, required a greater understanding of labour requirements by region and though time, to ensure workforce availability, sector viability and the provision of food.

The Department of Agriculture and Fisheries with Growcom undertook a survey of Queensland horticulture enterprises to estimate seasonal labour demand for the six month period from April 2020 to September 2020. The purpose of this analysis is to provide an early and rapid study into the workforce requirements of the Queensland horticulture sector during the COVID-19 pandemic. In particular, this analysis seeks to identify the workforce hotspots, and attempts to quantify the number of roles needed to ensure food production.

Queensland Horticulture Labour Demand: Results of Growcom labour demand survey April 2020
Comprehensive Survey Map April – September 2020

Issues Management: Needles in Strawberries Crisis September 2018

In late 2018 the wave of reported incidents of needles in strawberries swept Australian media and attracted attention globally. This report is designed to outline the successive phases of escalation of the 2018 needles in strawberries’ crisis and the impacts on domestic consumer confidence and international reputation of Australian fresh produce. The report has been prepared from the perspective of crisis management and reputation protection, rather than the horticultural, supply chain and food safety focus on industry procedures to manage contamination events.

Issues Management: Needles in Strawberries Crisis September 2018
Sean Dignum, Principal SDA Strategic January 2019