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Sector working together to tackle education & labour shortages

24 September 2012

Key players in the Australian agricultural and education sectors have come together to address critical issues around education, training, skills and labour in a bid to encourage more students to take up agricultural careers.

The National Agribusiness Education, Skills and Labour Taskforce, facilitated by the National Farmers’ Federation (NFF), has today resolved to work together to identify issues critical to the success of the agricultural sector and to develop solutions to overcoming them.

NFF President Jock Laurie said the organisations that make up the National Agribusiness Education, Skills and Labour Taskforce have shown their commitment to tackling the ever-growing challenges of ensuring Australians are more aware of where their food and fibre comes from and attracting people to work in this exciting sector, at a meeting hosted by the Royal Agricultural Society of NSW in Sydney today.

“The Taskforce recognises that the time for action on agricultural education is now. Today, the group has resolved to collaboratively address these issues, and take the agreed solutions and actions to key decision-makers on behalf of the wider agricultural sector,” Mr Laurie said.

“This is a very positive step forward for the agricultural sector and demonstrates that we can – and will - work together to overcome issues affecting agriculture in Australia.

“According to the Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations the agricultural industry has experienced the largest decline in employment over the last ten years – and predictions show that employment growth will be subdued over the next five.

“Industry estimations show that 100,000 jobs are currently available in agriculture, and we are all already all too familiar with the many challenges to rebuilding the workforce: our labour force is ageing, there are fewer young people entering our industry, drought has resulted in people leaving the industry, and other industries are competing for our workers.

“The purpose of the Taskforce is to work together to tackle these issues and ensure the agricultural industry rebuilds its image as a viable and attractive employment option,” Mr Laurie said.

The National Agribusiness Education, Skills and Labour Taskforce consists of representatives of the following organisations: National Farmers’ Federation; the Agribusiness Association of Australia Ltd; Ag Institute Australia; Australian Cane Farmers; AgriFood Skills Australia; Australian Council of Agricultural Societies; Australian Rural Leadership Foundation; Art4Agriculture; Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry; Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations; Department of Industry, Innovation, Science, Research and Tertiary Education; Future Farmers Network; Digital Farm School; The National Association of Agricultural Educators; Primary Industry Centre for Science Education; Primary Industries Education Foundation; SA Primary Industries Skills Council; Royal Agricultural Society of NSW; Rural Industries Research and Development Corporation; Rural Skills Australia; SkillsOne Television; The Australian Workforce and Productivity Agency; TAFE; Thomas Project Services; the Tractor & Machinery Association of Australia; University of Queensland, Victorian Farmers Federation Young Agribusiness Professionals and Australian Year of the Farmer.

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