People at core of agriculture’s growth

 
A vibrant workforce will be key in expanding the NSW agriculture sector’s productivity, ultimately gearing it toward its target of $30 billion in output by 2030. 

The NSW Government will be handing down the 2021-22 State Budget in June, and NSW Farmers has identified a suite of short-term and long-term investment strategies it can employ to build the workforce of one of the state’s economic engines. 

NSW Farmers President James Jackson said in the immediate term, the major worker shortages threatening fruit and vegetable harvests must be addressed.

“Labour shortages resulting from state and international border restrictions have cost the NSW horticulture industry millions, while the loss for the national economy is far higher.”

“Modelling indicates that an ongoing 50 per cent labour shortage will cost the industry $500 million by the end of the 2021/22 season, which is massive for an industry worth around $1.2 billion to the state economy.”

“We welcome the NSW Government’s announcement that the cost of hotel quarantine will be subsidised by 50 percent. We now urge this assistance to continue past the 2020-2021 financial year.”

“Securing the subsidy is a key aspect of the five-point plan NSW Farmers developed in response to the labour shortage.”

Mr Jackson said a number of long-term strategies are needed to future-proof the agriculture workforce.

“Technology will influence the way we farm, so it’s vital that farmers are able to harness opportunities in this space.”

“There is demand across the grains, horticulture and livestock sectors for drone use. NSW Farmers supports the allocation of $3 million over four years for the Smart and Skilled Government-funded training program for remotely piloted aircraft systems.”

“Technology and innovation will also bring new work opportunities in agriculture, and it’s important that these are promoted.”

“The NSW Government should commit to a strategy to promote careers in agriculture,” Mr Jackson concluded. 

Date:  Tuesday, 13 April 2021
Media Contact:  Michael Burt  | 0428 228 988 | burtm@nswfarmers.org.au