As predicted by Labor during the backpackers tax debate, revelations that a quarter of Australia’s vegetable growers cannot find enough workers to pick and pack their produce is alarming.
Without access to a reliable and sustainable workforce the horticulture sector will not be able to take full advantage of new and emerging export markets.
Sadly, last year under the cover of the backpackers tax debacle, the Turnbull-Joyce Government chose to politicise the seasonal workforce that vegetable growers heavily rely on.
What should have happened was a genuine debate about the workforce challenges facing the sector.
Now with a crisis in the workforce emerging the silence from the Turnbull-Joyce Government is deafening and the voices of farmers ignored.
Until the seasonal workforce challenges are fully understood and addressed, then our horticulture sector will struggle to fully increase productivity, profitability and sustainability.