Coronavirus and Food Safety

Information on the coronavirus and food safety has recently been released by the Australian Research Council Training Centre for Food Safety in the Fresh Produce Industry that you can access via its website here.

Key points include:

  • Coronavirus is unlikely to be passed on through fresh produce.
  • Coronavirus may survive up to three hours on dry inanimate surfaces, and several hours on hands, tissues, and other surfaces, although this depends on the nature of the surface, environmental conditions etc.
  • The World Health Organisation (WHO) advises that standard recommendations to reduce exposure to and transmission of a range of illnesses are maintained. These include: proper hand hygiene; cough/cold hygiene practices; safe agricultural practices; and avoiding close contact, when possible, with anyone showing symptoms of respiratory illness such as coughing and sneezing.

Complete the AUSVEG Grower Survey now!

AUSVEG has launched its 2020 AUSVEG Grower Survey and is calling for your feedback to help guide its agenda for this year.

This is your chance to have your say on significant issues such as your Research and Development levy and help set the priorities for AUSVEG’s advocacy agenda.

Click here to complete the AUSVEG Grower Survey.

Horticulture Industry Labour Agreement

AUSVEG last week met with the Department of Home Affairs to discuss the progress on the Horticulture Industry Labour Agreement (HILA).

The department is accepting applications under the HILA, but the agreement is still yet to be finalised.

AUSVEG has voiced its frustration on behalf of growers as the HILA is a critical piece of the horticulture labour puzzle.

AUSVEG has also given feedback on the draft agreement and recommended several changes to it.

We are hopeful it will be finalised and available in coming weeks.

Annualised Salaries

As part of the four yearly review of modern awards, the Fair Work Commission (FWC) has handed down a decision that will impact employers paying annualised salaries to employees covered by a modern award with an annualised salary clause.

The three new standard ‘annualised wage arrangement’ clauses will replace the existing annualised salary clauses in 19 modern awards, including the Clerks Private Sector Award 2010, already containing an annualised salary clause.

The new terms will also be inserted into three modern awards which have not previously had an annualised salary.

The Horticulture Award 2010, MA000023, is one of those awards.

Please click here for more information on what it means for growers.

Welcome news on piece rates

The horticulture industry welcomed news following a recent ruling from the High Court of Australia regarding piece rates.

The High Court refused the Fair Work Ombudsman’s (FWO) special leave application, in which they sought permission to lodge an appeal against the split decision of the Federal Court in Fair Work Ombudsman v Hu & Ors (the Marland Mushrooms case).

Under the Horticulture Award, piece work rates are fixed by agreement, between the employer and the employee, at a rate that enables the average, competent worker to earn at least 15 per cent more than the minimum hourly rate.

The ruling means the FWO cannot appeal the decision on piece rate work.

AUSVEG and other members of the National Farmers Federation Horticulture Council gave financial support to help with legal costs while the Australian Farmers Fighting Fund also assisted.

This matter is now effectively settled with the Fair Work Ombudsman, which has no further avenue to pursue it.

For information on piece rates and other guides head to the Fair Work Ombudsman’s Horticulture Showcase website at

ACCC looks at agricultural machinery after-sales markets

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) is calling on grower feedback on their after-sales experience when purchasing agriculture machinery.

The ACCC has launched a grower survey in relation to purchasing, servicing and repairing their agricultural machinery.

The survey can be found online via

Are you Fair Farms certified yet?

Last year Fair Farms was rolled out nationally and is gaining traction in the sector. The program provides support and training of farm employers and a pathway to independent third-party audit and certification of fair employment practices. If you are interested in joining Fair Farms, head to

Did you know?

There are a number of employment options for growers when employing staff, from full time employment, to casual workers and permanent part time. Fixed Term contracts may also be an option for growers to help manage your workforce needs.

For more information, contact AUSVEG National Manager – Public Affairs Tyson Cattle at, or phone 03 9882 0277.