24 August 2021
The Australian Table Grape Association (ATGA) applauds yesterday’s momentous announcement by the Federal Government to deliver a dedicated agriculture-specific visa (ag visa).
CEO Jeff Scott welcomed the announcement as a critical step forward for Australia’s table grape growers.
“This is exciting news for the table grape industry,” Mr Scott said. “The ATGA has been working with government to establish a national ag visa for nearly two years.
“This announcement will go a long way to alleviating the challenges growers face in securing harvest labour.”
The Federal Government’s plans to have the visa in place by 30 September 2021 will be a satisfying relief to table grape growers concerned about securing their workforce for the upcoming season.
ATGA chair and Robinvale grower Jeremey Boyd said it was a “very positive” move, and said he and other growers eagerly awaited more detail to understand how the ag visa would practically function once operationalised.
“It is positive for the industry,” Mr Boyd said. “We look forward to hearing how it will be implemented within industry.”
Deputy chair and Irymple grower Rocky Mammone said industry had been “pushing” for a dedicated agricultural visa for many years, with the Covid-19 pandemic proving to be a mechanism for action.
“We’ve always been short on workers and we’ve been pushing for this,” Mr Mammone said. “Covid-19 has been the catalyst for this.
“We’re very happy with the announcement – it’s a step in the right direction.
“We look forward to being involved in the consultation process and we’ll be trying to push for a streamlined visa which is accessible to as many growers as possible.”
Mr Scott said the onus was now on state governments to establish quarantine pathways to ensure foreign workers could be safely accommodated.
“We now call on state governments to work with the federal governments in establishing quarantine pathways to ensure the success of this new visa,” Mr Scott said.
CEO Jeff Scott
0417 122 086