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Seasonal Worker Program expansion a ‘win-win’

8 February 2016

The National Farmers’ Federation (NFF) has welcomed the Federal Government’s implementation of the expansion and streamlining of the Seasonal Worker Program to better align with the seasonal labour requirements of Australian agriculture.

Established by the Government in 2008 in response to an NFF recommendation, the aid based Program benefits both farmers and workers, helping to fill short-term labour needs while opening up new opportunities for individuals and small villages in Timor-Leste and the nine participating Pacific nations.

NFF President Brent Finlay said the new measures were common sense measures which would lift the productivity of the agricultural sector.

“The Seasonal Worker Program is one of agriculture’s great success stories, contributing to the economic development of our nearest region, and offering Australian farmers the opportunity to substantially lift output during critical harvest times of the year,” Mr Finlay said.

“These changes will lift existing rules which limit the program to horticulture, cotton, sugarcane and aquaculture and open the program up to all agricultural industries.

“Our neighbours in the Pacific and East Timor will have increased opportunity to improve their lives while Australian farmers will have the ability to better meet their seasonal labor requirements.”

The NFF acknowledged the Turnbull Government for its role in delivering the program’s expansion.

“Australian agricultural exports are forecast to double in the next 15 years but will struggle to do so without an adequate workforce

“We congratulate the Government on this win-win policy initiative as we strive towards a prosperous agricultural sector that will benefit the entire national economy.”

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