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Rural skills shake-up recognises importance of agriculture

26 February 2007

THE National Farmers’ Federation (NFF) threw its support behind proposals to address key skill shortages in rural Australia - outlined in ‘Skills: Rural Australia’s Need’ released today by the House of Representatives Agricultural Committee.

“Importantly, the Report recognises the vital role agriculture plays in boosting the national economy, and it clearly emphases the link between education and training in generating future growth potential for our sector,” Duncan Fraser, Chair of the NFF’s Workplace Relations Committee, said.

“Australian farms are the engine room of rural communities and continue to provide a significant contribution to Australia’s economy, generating around $103 billion-a-year in production.”

By addressing rural concerns over access to training, availability and appropriateness of extension services and dealing with remoteness factors inherent in education and training delivery, the agricultural sector will be in a position to further boost our contribution to the economic future of Australia.

“Farming has changed dramatically over the past 10 years, achieving efficiency gains that enable us to compete in fierce world markets,” Mr Fraser said.

“It’s critical for the continued success of agriculture as a competitive sector that all those involved – farmers, their families and employees – strive to increase their skill level.

“Training providers, government programs, and farming initiatives need to be targeted at resolving skill needs to ensure we maximise Australia’s farming capacity.

“The NFF is encouraged that the Committee’s recommendations are consistent with the education and training recommendations of the NFF’s Labour Shortage Action Plan. We now look forward to working through our proposals with Government.

[ENDS]

Media Enquiries: Brett Heffernan on (02) 6273 3855 or 0408 448 250

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