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NFF welcomes 457 visa changes

18 March 2015

The National Farmers’ Federation (NFF) welcomes today’s release of the Government’s response to the 457 visa program, by the Assistant Minister for Immigration and Border Protection, Senator the Hon Michaelia Cash.

Brent Finlay, President of the NFF, said that overseas workers play a small but important part in the Australian agriculture sector.

“Australian workers are the backbone of the agriculture sector. But recent experience with the mining boom shows that Australian agriculture faces strong domestic competition for labour with other sectors of the economy”, Mr Finlay said.

“Many farm businesses in regional and remote areas struggle to find local workers with relevant skills. They rely on overseas workers to fill essential on-farm roles that cannot be filled by the domestic labour force.

“The proposed reforms will address many of the sector’s concerns about access to skilled migrant workers.

“Importantly, the categories of skilled workers able to work in Australia under the 457 visa program will become more flexible and better able to reflect current labour market needs.

“Today’s announcement signals greater capacity for Australian agriculture to access workers who have the skills Australian farms need to innovate and grow.

“Australia needs a competitive agriculture sector, one that delivers greater margins at the farm gate.

“A key priority for us is attracting, upskilling and retaining a future workforce with the capacity to unlock that potential.

“We look forward to working with the Government on these important reforms.”

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