Today’s latest agriculture visa announcement from the Morrison-Joyce Government is once again too little, too late in trying to fix labour shortages on Australian farms.
The Morrison-Joyce Government has failed to reveal any real detail on how this visa will protect workers against the shocking examples of exploitation on farms right around the country.
Labor remains concerned it will undermine key elements of the Pacific Step-Up including the Seasonal Workers Programme (SWP) and the Pacific Labour Scheme (PLS) at a time when our relationship with the region has never been more important.
In fact earlier this week the Minister for Foreign Affairs, Marise Payne, announced there were 55,000 Pacific islanders ready to work in Australia under the PLS and SWP, up from 27,000 applicants last year.
Today’s latest announcement does nothing to address these serious concerns.
Even the Morrison-Joyce Government’s splashy website for the visa confirms ‘the final program design continues to be developed.’
It was Mr Morrison who announced the visa in 2018 and has failed to deliver it for years. Now he’s leaving Barnaby Joyce and David Littleproud to implement it after years of inaction.
Last year, David Littleproud repeatedly pointed to 25,000 pre-vetted Pacific workers who would help fix labour shortages.
The Morrison-Joyce Government is yet to respond to the recommendations of the National Agricultural Workforce Strategy handed to it in October.
These workforce issues are hurting farms across the country and driving up the cost of fresh produce for consumers.
All Australians are now paying the price for the Government’s inaction.
The Morrison-Joyce Government must come clean with real details of the proposed agriculture visa and finally fix workforce issues on Australian farms.