Tyson Cattle is AUSVEG’s National Manager – Public Affairs. He’s provided this update on his activities since he began in his role in February 2018.

Introduction to the industry

Hi, and welcome to the first edition of Triple A, your monthly update on AUSVEG’s Advocacy Activities.

As this is the first edition, I thought it would be worth providing an update on what AUSVEG has been doing in the advocacy space over the last six months.

In February, I started as AUSVEG National Manager – Public Affairs, with the aim of ensuring the key issues our growers face are being heard in Federal Government.

During the first few months I met with growers from throughout Australia, ranging from the south of Victoria, to as far Mareeba in Northern Queensland, to Virginia in South Australia and Gingin in Western Australia.

As an advocate for growers, I believe it is paramount to get out and engage with you as much as possible learn about your businesses, the issues you face and how we can help.

Fighting for agricultural labour

One of the key problems that has been reinforced to me throughout my travels is the difficulty growers have in finding and accessing a stable and reliable workforce.

Roles from picking and packing, to shed and farm managers were just some of the many roles that growers all over the country are struggling to fill.

So, we set out trying to address the issue.

We spoke with our state members, we met with politicians and we engaged with other horticulture bodies through the National Farmers’ Federation Horticulture Council to try and find a solution.

The result was a dedicated agricultural visa, which AUSVEG has been working with government departments and others to develop.

The sole aim of the visa was to allow growers from around the country access to a more stable and reliable workforce.

This has been an ongoing push from AUSVEG and the wider industry for some time, and while we are disappointed through media reports that the agricultural visa has so far not been successful, we are hopeful we can get a result.

AUSVEG has also played an important role in working with the Horticulture Council around providing ideas for changes to existing visas such as the Seasonal Worker Program (SWP) and Backpacker Visas which would also allow growers access to a greater labour pool.

The labour issue in our sector is now certainly on many Ministers’ agendas, and we will continue to do all we can to make sure they are aware of the struggles our farmers face, and that they work with us to help find a solution in the immediate and longer term.

We are fighting to ensure that our growers have the capability, the capacity and the confidence to grow and invest in their business and continue to provide Australia, and the world, with the quality and safe produce.

If you want to get in touch with Tyson to talk about how AUSVEG can support your business and our industry, please email him at tyson.cattle@ausveg.com.au.

To learn more about Tyson’s work at AUSVEG and his lifelong connections with Australian agriculture, check out the September/October 2018 edition of Vegetables Australia magazine (page 8 of the PDF or page 14 of the hard copy edition). 

Image gallery: AUSVEG on-farm

Check out some photos of the AUSVEG Board and staff visiting farms and discussing growers’ advocacy needs.