Impact from COVID-19 continues
While restrictions are slowly being lifted in a number of states, AUSVEG continues to engage with federal government on the flow-on impacts to horticulture.

AUSVEG has been engaged with the governmentā€™s economic recovery discussion, while also providing feedback via the National Farmersā€™ Federation Horticulture Council. This includes a recommendation for an extension of the Instant Asset Write Off, which was announced yesterday.

AUSVEG continues to engage with relevant Ministerā€™s offices on a range of issues, in particular relating to ongoing workforce challenges for industry, including post-COVID-19.

Union engagement advice
AUSVEG has sought legal advice from HWLE Lawyers with regards to developing a simple two-page document to help growers with union engagement on-farm.

The document helps growers identify what a union can and cannot do when on-farm and engaging with the workforce.

AUSVEG understands that union presence on horticulture farms varies in states and regions, but this document should help provide some clarity.

It is important growers recognise that this is general advice and if growers have greater concerns they should seek their own legal advice.

You can view the document here.

Casual employee accrued entitlements
In May, the full Federal Court reached a decision in the matter ofĀ WorkPac v Rossato, which presented an opportunity to reverse or confirm the position on the classification of casual employees reached in the earlier case ofĀ WorkPac v Skene.

Regrettably, the Federal Courtā€™s decision effectively confirms (and probably expands upon) the position on casual employment inĀ Skene,Ā enabling employees who can demonstrate that they were working fixed, regular shifts to retroactively claim full time leave and entitlements despite having received loading under the understanding that they were casual employees.

This opens up the worrying potential for many such employees to effectively ā€˜double-dipā€™ on entitlements.

In order to help producers navigate the immediate consequences of the decision, the National Farmers’ FederationĀ has produced a document listing precautionary steps that employers should take in order to avoid facing a similar situation to WorkPac inĀ SkeneĀ andĀ Rossato.

View a guidance document from the NFF here.

AUSVEG also sought advice at the request of its State Members to get some detailed grower advice.Ā AUSVEG has engaged with HR Global Solutions, for details please view thisĀ document.

Fair Farms accepted by Coles
Fair Farms was recently recognised by Coles supermarkets as part of its ethical supply chain sourcing standards. This is a great step forward for the grower-owned program that provides a quality alternative for growers.

Coles joins Woolworths and ALDI who also recognise Fair Farms as part of their supply chains.

AUSVEG encourages growers to get behind the scheme and to find out more here.

Potato imports being monitored
AUSVEG has continued to work with major potato processors McCains and Simplot regarding the potential threat of potatoes dumped on the Australian market from Europe.

AUSVEG is also keeping in regular contact with Trade Minister Simon Birmingham and Industry Minister Karen Andrewā€™s offices on this issue, and has received advice from the Anti-Dumping Commission and the Productivity Commission.

We are continuing to monitor the situation as evidence and data of product coming onto the market will be critical in progressing this.

Call for feedback on the Horticulture Code of Conduct
AUSVEG has been engaged with the ACCC and the Australian Small Business and Family Enterprise Ombudsman on the Horticulture Code of Conduct and its effectiveness.

If growers are having issues, would like to raise concerns, or have other feedback on the code, they can contact AUSVEG at tyson.cattle@ausveg.com.au.

Horticulture Showcase in different languages
Growers and horticulture workers are urged to look at the Horticulture Showcase webpage at the Fair Work Ombudsman.

The page has been updated and helps provide employers and employees with information to assist with a range of issues and is available in a number of different languages.

  • Pay & piecework rates
  • Workplace health & safety
  • Hours of work & overtime
  • Deductions for accommodation, transport & job finding
  • Sourcing labour and managing labour supply chains
  • Ending employment
  • Record keeping
  • Overseas workers
  • Our activities in the industry.

Visit the Showcase now at fairwork.gov.au/horticulture.