At almost every meal, half a plate is dedicated to us, however we are often forgotten about.

Vegetables and potatoes are not only an important part of the Australian diet, but the sectors are also significant components of the Australian agriculture framework.

AUSVEG is the national peak body of vegetable and potato growers, representing the industry that is helping to feed Australians and their families. We are run by growers, for growers, and the industry is ready to grow to new heights.

The AUSVEG 2022 Federal Election Priority document brings together these core concepts of combining broader Australian social benefits of eating vegetables and potatoes with the positive employment and economic benefits that growers generate for their regional communities.

The priorities outlined in this document will allow the $4.8 billion sector to not only grow in value, but also help boost other parts of the economy and help secure the next generation of jobs in our regional and rural communities.

These priorities have been developed through extensive consultation and collaboration with AUSVEG’s state members, as well as growers across the country.

The priorities are set around three central themes:

Driving increased consumption

Driving increased consumption leads to both domestic and overseas opportunities.

Increasing domestic consumption requires bold new thinking to tackle a persistent and worsening problem. Data from the Fruit & Vegetable Consortium (FVC) indicates that vegetable consumption is too low, and declining over time. However, the FVC outlines the benefits of increasing vegetable consumption, with an increase of just half a serve of vegetables per day conservatively generating an incremental increase in industry returns of $634 million per year, which is shared by all parties along the food supply chain. Not only that, but every new job also created in the industry supports an additional job in the regional economy.

On the export front, the vegetable industry is just getting started. Increasing trade and market access to countries such as Singapore, UAE, Malaysia, South Korea, Hong Kong and Thailand will further enhance our selling opportunities for growers.

Developing more effective businesses

Developing more efficient businesses starts with access to a more efficient, reliable and competent workforce.

While the Australian Agriculture Visa and Pacific Island programs are significant pieces of that complex puzzle, other pieces include affordable and reasonable accommodation options for workers and greater skilled career opportunities for the domestic workforce. Improved business management and negotiation skills are critical for farm businesses to become more prepared to effectively negotiate with their buyers and their banks.

While greater market transparency will increase grower knowledge of pricing fluctuations and give them access to the free, timely and accurate market information they need to make more informed decisions for benefit of their business.

Becoming a more resilient industry

Becoming a more resilient industry is about planning for the future.

This includes better understanding our customers’ expectations and preparing for the constant challenges that the climate brings. From fires, floods, droughts and COVID, our growers have dealt with a wide range of issues outside of their control, but they can prepare to mitigate the impacts on their businesses and on our future food security. It also includes improved management for food safety and how the uptake in new technology can assist in ensuring Australia’s fresh produce is safe for all consumers.

These central themes are the core of the development of the vegetable and potato sector as it strives to become an $8 billion sector by 2030.

Advocacy updates

March 2023

AUSVEG was pleased to partner with the Department of Home Affairs and VETASESS to present a webinar on the current visa programs in the horticultural sector. The webinar provided information for those interested in knowing more about the visa options available as well as providing updates for those already utilising the visa programs. Please note that all information is current as at March 2023 but is subject to change.

BIRO webinar info links click here.
To learn more about BIRO click here.
To see BIROs presentation click here.
To see VETASSESS presentation click here.

Watch the webinar here: AUSVEG webinar – Visas in Horticulture – Zoom

Check out the AUSVEG Visa Overview here!

Unpacking the Vegetable Industry

A video series helping to unpack the vegetable industry.

Everyday households head out to supermarkets, independent grocers, and farmers markets to buy their vegetables. They are a dietary staple, and if we were to follow recommendations, they would make up half of every meal.

Whilst vegetables are fundamental to our lives, what happens beyond the supermarket shelves remains a mystery. Very few understand or are exposed to the vegetable supply chain, or the effort and processes required to deliver produce to thousands of Australian homes.

Too often consumers and stakeholders are only presented through the news media with negative pictures of the industry, giving the public only one small picture of horticulture.

We want to showcase the hard work that the horticulture industry does day in and day out, during good times and bad.

The AUSVEG Unpacking the Vegetable Industry video series looks to celebrate what the industry is really like and to tell our story and answer some of the questions the public has for the industry.

In this series AUSVEG has travelled around Australia and interviewed people working in the vegetable industry to understand their experiences and perspectives.

Growing a Career in Horticulture

A career booklet showing off the plethora of career opportunities available in the horticulture industry.

Australia’s horticulture industry is going from strength to strength, with a 2020/21 production value exceeding $15.2 billion. The industry is broad and contains a range of products such as fruit, nuts, vegetables, nursery, turf, and cut flowers.

Horticulture is a keystone in Australia’s economy. People will always need to eat fresh produce so there will always be the need for a prosperous industry. With an increasing population to feed, the horticulture industry is continuously innovating and expanding, making it an exciting and satisfying career with strong upward progression.

There is a common misperception that careers in horticulture only involve harvesting crops. But there is a whole range of careers across the horticulture supply chain that require talented, innovative, and progressive minds to continue to push the industry forward. Careers such as entomologists, irrigation designers, mechanical engineers, and agricultural technicians.

All the careers in this booklet are in high demand and can offer onsite training, the only thing left to do is begin!

Horticulture – Grow your career video series

Thinking of a career change in 2022? Why not look into careers in horticulture.

A career in horticulture is a satisfying profession that creates opportunities for upward growth. Putting food on the table for millions of families in Australia and abroad makes it a worthwhile and fulfilling career.

And it’s not just monotonous work picking and packing. The dynamic and innovative horticulture industry requires a range of diverse skillsets to manage and operate farm business.

The videos below explore some of the obscure but vital roles in the industry and show the daily tasks, responsibilities, and pathways of current employees on Australian farms – many who have been able to transfer key skills from seemingly unrelated courses and past occupations to start new and successful careers in horticulture.

Each video challenges the old perception of horticulture as arduous, dirty work to the reality as an innovative, progressive, and sustainable industry.

Grow your career by entering an industry that is full of opportunity and variety; once you start learning you’ll never stop.

It has countless job prospects for workers to upskill and access on-the-job training to further their career in horticulture. While there are many harvesting opportunities on the Harvest Trail, there is also a range of other essential roles to be found on-farm and production line.

AUSVEG Education and Training Resources

Growing the workforce is a big focus for the horticulture industry. For the past few years, the industry has faced workforce shortages and has relied on a foreign workforce to fill many roles on farm. This issue combined with the rising age of farmers is putting pressure on the future workforce of the horticulture industry.

The $8 billion horticulture industry is growing quickly and has the target of reaching $15 billion by 2030. With the rapid expansion of the industry and the added government funding there has never been a better time to get into the industry.

Despite the rapid growth rate of the industry there is declining interest from youth to take up careers in horticulture. There are many reasons for this, one is that youth are not being exposed to horticultural career opportunities. Students, teachers, and career councillors are all not aware of the plethora of rewarding jobs on the land.

It is important schools are equip with the resources to educate students about the industry and ensure that further learning institutions are equip with the resources to create an engaging and relevant course to retain students.

February 2023

AUSVEG has partnered with the Ai Group to deliver a webinar series covering the most recent workplace relations legislative reforms to the Fair Work Act 2009 (Cth) implemented by the Fair Work Legislation Amendment (Secure Jobs, Better Pay) Act 2022.

This a first of a series of grower briefings around industrial relations, in partnership with Ai Group.

This important webinar will brief growers on:

• the workplace relations changes to be implemented;
• implications for members; and
• what members can do to prepare for their commencement.

This webinar will be presented by Brooke West, Senior Associate from Ai Group Workplace Lawyers.

The following topics were covered in the first webinar. Please find the relevant factsheets on each below:

  1. Sexual Harassment and Anti-Discrimination.
  2. Enterprise Agreement Making and BOOT.
  3. Fixed Term Contracts.
  4. Industrial Action and Bargaining Disputes.
  5. Initiating Bargaining and Termination of Enterprise Agreements.
  6. Jobs Advertisements and Small Claims.
  7. Multi-Enterprise Bargaining – Cooperative Bargaining Stream.
  8. Multi-Enterprise Bargaining – The Supported Bargaining Stream.
  9. Multi-Enterprise Bargaining – Single Interest Bargaining Stream.
  10. Pay Secrecy.
  11. Zombie Agreements.

March 2023

AUSVEG, in partnership with AI Group, recorded its second webinar in a series of grower briefings to update growers on:

  • Introduction to Enterprise Agreements
  • The advantages and disadvantages of an Enterprise Agreement
  • The process of making an Enterprise Agreement
  • Enterprise Agreement Content
  • Good Faith Bargaining and negotiations

This webinar was produced by AUSVEG and presented by Brooke West, Senior Associate from Ai Group Workplace Lawyers on 9 March 2023.

Find the related factsheets here.

April 2023

Respect@Work: new obligations to stop workplace sexual harassment.

Eliminating workplace sexual harassment has been a focus for many businesses.

As part of its pre-election commitment to implement all outstanding recommendations of the Respect@WorkReport, the Federal Government has released two significant pieces of amendment legislation: the Anti-Discrimination and Human Rights Legislation Amendment (Respect at Work) Act 2022 (Respect@Work Act) and the Fair Work Legislation Amendment (Secure Jobs, Better Pay) Act 2022 (Secure Jobs, Better Pay Act).

These Acts introduce new legal frameworks impacting employer obligations in how workplace sexual harassment is prevented and addressed. Recent changes in work, health and safety laws will also play a part in framing how employers are to prevent unlawful sexual harassment.

This webinar was produced by AUSVEG and presented by Brooke West, Senior Associate from Ai Group Workplace Lawyers on 4 April 2023.

AUSVEG, in partnership with AI Group, recorded its third webinar in a series of grower briefings to update growers on how new laws will impact grower obligations in how workplace sexual harassment is prevented and addressed.

See the factsheet here: Respect@Work Positive obligations on Growers to prevent workplace sexual harassment Summary Sheet.

May 2023

AUSVEG in partnership with Ai Group, covered the remaining recent areas of workplace relations legislative reforms to the Fair Work Act 2009 (Cth) and recent case law developments. This webinar was delivered on 4 May 2023.

This webinar briefed growers on:

  • Family and Domestic Violence Leave changes implemented by the Fair Work Amendment (Paid Family and Domestic Violence Leave) Act 2022, including record keeping obligations;
  • New Model Annual Leave Shutdown – Fair Work Commission 4 Yearly Review of Modern Awards – Plain language – Shutdown Provisions (AM 2016/15);
  • Federal Court decision Construction of Forestry, Maritime, Mining and Energy Union v OS MCAP Pty Ltd [2023] FCAFC 51 – Requirement to request that employees work on public holidays;
  • Introduction of the Fair Work Amendment Protecting Workers Entitlement Bill 2023; and
  • Next tranche of IR legislation – Expected areas to be implemented.

This webinar was presented by Brooke West, Senior Associate from Ai Group Workplace Lawyers.

The following factsheets have been made available following the webinar:

  1. Federal Court decision – Requirement to request that employees work on public holidays Summary Sheet
  2. Fair Work Legislation Amendment (Protecting Worker Entitlements) Bill 2023 Summary Sheet
  3. Award Variation – Annual Leave Shutdown Provisions Summary Sheet
  4. Paid Family and Domestic Violence Leave Entitlement and Record Keeping Obligations – Information Sheet

Contact the Advocacy team

Phone: (03) 9882 0277