Agriculture roundtables provide important feedback ahead of jobs & skills summit

29 August 2022

Four agriculture industry roundtables held across the country over the past fortnight have provided valuable feedback to the Albanese Government ahead of the Jobs and Skills Summit in Canberra next week.

Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry Murray Watt has convened meetings with dozens of key stakeholders at the forums held in three different states.

He said the roundtables allowed agriculture, fisheries and forestry employers, unions, advocacy groups and training providers to give their feedback on the issues that faced the sector.

“It was great to hear first-hand from a range of groups about the workforce and skills issues specific to the agriculture sector.

“These meetings, held in regional and metropolitan areas, brought a range of new voices to the table.

“Just bringing people together - with different perspectives - is an important step forward, in solving a range of issues confronting the agriculture workforce.

“Some of these issues have been there for years and were not addressed by the former government. We’re now getting on with the job of coming up with solutions.

“The roundtables delivered strong support for some of our Government’s existing commitments, like expanding and strengthening the Pacific Australia Labour Mobility (PALM) program and cracking down on rogue operators in the sector responsible for unacceptable worker exploitation.

“The roundtables have produced additional suggestions, which I am now considering, in the run up to the Government’s Jobs and Skills Summit.

“I would like to thank all of those representatives who attended these roundtables and for their honest and open dialogue throughout these discussions.”

The Albanese Labor Government’s Jobs and Skills Summit will be held at Parliament House this week.

The Summit will bring together Australians, including unions, employers, civil society and governments to address our greatest economic challenges.

Minister Watt said a number of agriculture industry and regional representatives would be in attendance, as well as unions representatives with coverage of agricultural workers.

“We’re pleased unions, industry groups and others are bringing ideas to the table for the Jobs and Skills Summit,” Minister Watt said.

“That’s what it is all about.

“Labor already has a plan to get wages moving and get more people into secure work. But we welcome any new proposals that could help us achieve those aims.”