The National Irrigators’ Council (NIC) has today welcomed the announcement of the longawaited Agriculture Visa.

NIC Chief Executive Officer Isaac Jeffrey said: “Industry has been calling for a visa for agricultural workers for many years to support our primary industries by addressing critical workforce shortages.

“The Federal Government has listened to industry and has today announced the creation of an Agriculture Visa, which will give farmers access to a willing and able workforce.

“Last season we saw fruit rotting and crops going unpicked as farmers struggled to hire a willing workforce. This new visa is a welcomed and positive step to help our food and fibre producers avoid these shortfalls into the future.

“The Ag Visa will allow workers to come in and support our agriculture, meat processing, forestry and fisheries industries. It will help farmers and industry to capitalise on recent rains and good crop predictions, and work with confidence knowing they will be able to get the staff they need to run their farms.

“The visa will be available to a full spectrum of workers from low to highly skilled backgrounds to fill gaps in Australia’s current workforce.

“The agriculture industry has a wealth of opportunities for workers from all walks of life from low skilled fruit picking jobs right through to technical farm machinery and robotics careers. We encourage all Australians thinking about future careers, career changes or simply looking to pick up some work to explore options in the industry.

“But until we can encourage more Australians to move into the industry, we need the Ag Visa.

“The agriculture industry has a goal of reaching $100 billion per annum by 2030, but it is impossible without the workforce to support it. The visa will help industry put this goal within striking distance.

“The NIC looks forward to industry consultations which will occur in coming weeks and to working with the Government on the planned regulations which are likely to be in place by the end of September.

“The Government has said the visa will be available to a wide range of countries through bilateral agreements with the full visa conditions developed over the next three years and NIC looks forward to engaging on these matters.

“COVID-19 has rightly placed quarantine requirements on incoming workers and has affected travel availability. NIC looks forward to a near future with high vaccination rates to allow the borders, both domestic and international, to reopen to support our primary industries.”

Ends. Media Contact: Isaac Jeffrey 0407 083 890