A federal Labor authorities would successfully axe Australia’s Agriculture Visa earlier than a overseas employee might arrive on the scheme, the social gathering has introduced.
- The Agriculture Visa was introduced by the Coalition final 12 months however no employees have arrived on the scheme
- An Albanese authorities would pay journey prices related to bringing employees from the Pacific to Australia
- The Victorian Farmers Federation says Labor didn’t seek the advice of with it earlier than making the “disappointing” announcement
The Opposition says an Albanese Labor authorities would as an alternative set up a brand new agriculture stream inside the present Pacific Australia Labour Mobility (PALM) scheme, changing the particular visa for forestry, fishery and farm employees introduced by the Coalition final 12 months.
Labor says its authorities would additionally pay the up-front journey prices of Pacific employees travelling to Australia, enable Pacific employees to carry their households to dwell and work right here, and promote everlasting residency on a brand new Pacific Engagement Visa.
International Development shadow minister Pat Conroy mentioned a brand new method was wanted to assist farmers tackle employee shortages and higher Australia’s relationship in the Pacific.
“This authorities’s present agricultural visa just isn’t working, not a single employee has entered the nation underneath this agriculture visa, it has failed Australian farmers and it has failed the broader Australian group,” Mr Conroy mentioned.
Mr Conroy pledged to cut back “up-front prices to employers by the Australian authorities paying all however $300 of the airfares, which we’ll recoup from employees by means of the tax system”.
Australia’s Agriculture Visa was introduced by the Nationals on the sidelines of a free commerce settlement with the UK final 12 months, however to this point no employee has arrived on the visa.
It was meant to be a demand-driven scheme to carry expert, semi-skilled and unskilled employees to Australia.
Last month a memorandum of understanding was reached with Vietnam that may see employees from that nation permitted to work on the visa, however tax laws that may enable overseas employees to be employed in Australia has not but been heard in parliament.
Accusations of ‘repackaging’
Agriculture Minister David Littleproud mentioned scrapping the Agriculture Visa would “impose a value of residing improve on each Australian”.
“Labor are simply repackaging our present pacific schemes and taking away the alternative for expert and semi-skilled Vietnamese employees,” he mentioned.
It is unclear if a Labor authorities would honour the memorandum of understanding reached with Vietnam.
Mr Conroy introduced Labor’s intentions for the visa in Darwin, as the Opposition dedicated greater than $500 million in initiatives for the Pacific and Timore-Leste.
Farmers had been calling for an agriculture-specific visa to tackle employee shortages for a few years earlier than the pandemic hit.
Victorian Farmers Federation president Emma Germano mentioned Labor had not consulted key farmer teams on the new coverage.
“If that is what the place is, that is what we have been ready two years to hear about — nicely then, how disappointing,” she mentioned.
“It seems like we’re eliminating the Ag Visa and we’re simply going to costume up the Pacific Labour scheme.”
The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade says greater than 50,000 employees in the Pacific have been vetted to be part of the PALM.