Ag Visa and Federal Budget Update
Australian Agriculture Visa:
Vietnam has signed onto the Australian Agriculture Visa.
In what is a historic moment for the vegetable and potato industry, the Vietnamese government has confirmed its interest in being part of the Agriculture Visa (Ag Visa).
AUSVEG has been heavily involved in the design of the Ag Visa and has been a key driver for its implementation, highlighting its importance to government for a number of years. The signing of Vietnam onto the visa now confirms its willingness to participate in the visa, and also represents a commitment to the visa settings proposed by industry in consultation with the Federal Government.
More details will be revealed over the coming week. However, this announcement should be celebrated by growers as a significant step in being able to access a willing, reliable and efficient workforce for the longer-term.
AUSVEG has welcomed the visa and the work by the Coalition government to deliver the visa.
It should be noted by growers that the visa was not intended to be a COVID response. The visa was designed to deliver significant structural change for the industry and improve growers’ access to an efficient and reliable workforce.
While there is no clear timeframe on when the first flight of workers will arrive from Vietnam, growers should be confident that AUSVEG is working with Federal Government and relevant stakeholders to help deliver workers on farm as soon as possible. More still needs to be worked through before application processing can begin.
Growers should continue to access existing visa programs in the immediate term and make the appropriate decision for their business. Existing visa programs include:
- Seasonal Worker Programme: Temporary Work (International Relations) visa (subclass 403) Seasonal Worker Program stream (homeaffairs.gov.au)
- Pacific Labour Scheme: Temporary Work (International Relations) visa (subclass 403) Pacific Labour scheme stream (homeaffairs.gov.au)
- Working Holiday Maker Program: Working Holiday Maker (WHM) program (homeaffairs.gov.au)
- Horticulture Industry Labour Agreement: Skilled migration program – Recent changes (homeaffairs.gov.au)
AUSVEG will continue to advocate to all sides of politics to commit to and support the Ag Visa. For the most up to date information on the Australian Agriculture Visa, see here.
Ag Visa media
- Vietnam signs up to Ag Visa | Herald Sun
- Farmers to host Vietnamese Ag Visa holders – 2GB
- Vietnam signs up to farm visa deal |The Australian
- Nationals claim foreign worker win with symbolic ag visa agreement |Brisbane Times
- Australia looks to Vietnam for farm workers as first MOU under agriculture visa is signed | ABC News
- Vietnam joins agriculture visa program | Riverine Herald
The Federal Budget was announced last night with a key focus on cost of living ahead of the Federal Election.
While the budget included some announcements that will benefit the vegetable industry and regional communities, there were a number of areas identified by AUSVEG that were not addressed, including investment in increased consumption of vegetables, a sustainable funding model for Australia’s critically important biosecurity system, and investment in skills development for future workforces for Australia’s agriculture industry.
We acknowledge that the current focus on costs of living may have contributed to less of a focus on these areas, which is why AUSVEG will advocate its election priorities strongly in the upcoming Federal Election on behalf of its growers.
To read more about AUSVEG’s Federal Election Priorities, please click here.
A brief outline of some the key budgets measures is below. To read the budget papers in full, please click here.
- The Government will reduce fuel excise by 50 per cent for 6 months. This will see excise on petrol and diesel cut from 44.2 cents per litre to 22.1 cents per litre.
- $5.6 million over 4 years from 2022-23 for the Fair Work Commission to establish a dedicated unit to support small businesses, including with unfair dismissal and general protections disputes.
- $148.6 million over 5 years from 2022-23 to support more investment in affordable and reliable power, including the development of community microgrid projects in regional and rural Australia.
- $20.0 million over 4 years from 2021-22 to work with states and territories to reduce the impact of pests and weeds on agricultural production, native wildlife, the environment, and the community.
- $61.6 million over 4 years from 2022-23 to improve biosecurity capabilities, infrastructure and risk management activities across Northern Australia including addressing the potential threat of lumpy skin disease.
- $15.4 million over 2 years from 2022-23 to extend the Supporting Agriculture Shows and Field Days program and support Agricultural Shows societies to upgrade, repair and maintain facilities that support regional agricultural shows.
- $12.0 million over 3 years from 2022-23 to support large agricultural trade events that promote agribusiness.
- North and Central Queensland to invest in water infrastructure and supply chain projects that promote water security and open up agriculture and industry growth opportunities.
- $300.6 million for the Darwin Region Water Supply Infrastructure Program – Stage 1, Northern Territory.
- The expansion of the existing On-farm Emergency Water Infrastructure Rebate Scheme to 30 June 2023, and the expansion of the eligibility requirements to enable farmers impacted by natural disasters to utilise the Scheme, with costs to be met from existing resources.
Roads and transport:
- $678.0 million in additional funding for the Outback Way in the Northern Territory, Queensland and Western Australia.
- $385.4 million in additional funding for the Northern Australia Roads Program.
- $180.1 million to establish the Regional Australia Level Crossing Safety Program and support activities under the National Railway Level Crossing Safety Strategy to improve level crossing safety in regional Australia.
- Confirmation that the International Freight Assistance Mechanism (IFAM) will be finalised in July 2022.
- $127.4 million to expand the Digital Services to Take Farmers to Market platform to modernise the Government’s agricultural export systems.
- Tax breaks to encourage the commercialisation of eligible patents for new ag vet chemicals technologies.
- Confirmed changes to the tax treatment for ACCUs and biodiversity, $100 million cost to budget.
- $500 million for regional modern manufacturing.
For more information, contact AUSVEG National Manager – Public Affairs Tyson Cattle at firstname.lastname@example.org, or 03 9882 0277.