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Northern Rivers & Rural News

NSW Farmers releases 10-point Ag labour plan

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NSW Farmers releases 10-point Ag labour plan
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NOTICE OF MEMBERS EXTRAORINDARY LAND DEALING MEETING

NSW Farmers releases 10-point Ag labour plan

NSW Farmers is responding to the looming harvest worker shortage with a 10-point plan aimed at tackling the ongoing crisis.
International and state border restrictions have heavily limited the movement of workers to farms in time for upcoming grains, fruit and vegetable harvests, raising serious concerns that produce will be left to go to waste.

NSW Farmers’ President James Jackson said in the years prior to the onset of COVID-19 related border restrictions, up to half of the state’s harvest workforce was comprised of overseas workers.

“There have been longstanding challenges in attracting workers to agriculture, particularly domestic workers, however the pandemic has forced us to adapt very quickly to having fewer workers entering the state,” Mr Jackson said.
“We need short-term and long-term solutions. In the short-term, we need certainty and clarity for farm workers amid changing conditions of travel and border restrictions.”

“The Agricultural Workers’ Code is a great start, but we need to ensure the code is being interpreted consistently across states.”
“Agriculture Minister Adam Marshall has taken the step of inviting the Queensland, Victorian and Tasmanian Governments to establish an East Coast Agriculture Labour Task Force that will also include industry representatives. This is a good idea and let’s hope it goes ahead quickly and achieves improved mobility of workers across state borders.”

“We also need timely inflow of international seasonal workers through schemes including the Seasonal Worker Program and the Pacific Labour Scheme, as well as the impending Agriculture Workforce Visa.”

Mr Jackson said better coordination is needed to overcome the accommodation and transport challenges facing those interested in seasonal labour, especially in light of the rapidly changing COVID-19 situation.

“NSW Farmers is calling for an expansion of the ‘Help Harvest NSW’ program to include coordinators as the conduit between interested workers, farm businesses, government agencies and relevant stakeholders in the regions to streamline efforts for getting more people to farms.”
“Different regions face their own set of challenges, and we call on the government to provide grants to implement novel or localised initiatives to attract and/or facilitate the COVID safe movement and stay of seasonal workers.”

“An Agriculture Workforce Working Group comprising government agencies and industry stakeholders would greatly assist efforts to find timely and sustainable solutions to seasonal worker shortages in agriculture.”

Mr Jackson said seasonal work is highly suited to university or school students on break, and incentives such as subsidised transport, HECS relief or a bonus payment could attract more workers to agriculture.

“Attracting domestic workers to agriculture would also involve targeted communications campaigns highlighting the abundance of opportunities in agriculture, and NSW Farmers is calling for an industry wide coordinated campaign.”

 

Download the 10 Point Agricultural Workforce Plan PDF

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Foot-and-Mouth Disease Case Numbers Stabilise in Indonesia

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Foot-and-Mouth Disease
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NOTICE OF MEMBERS EXTRAORINDARY LAND DEALING MEETING

Foot-and-Mouth Disease Case Numbers Stabilise in Indonesia

 

The incidence of foot-and-mouth disease (FMD) in Indonesia has stabilised, with daily reported cases decreasing from over 12,000 during the peak of the outbreak in mid-2022 to approximately 25 per day currently.

Effective from June 4, 2024, the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry will align biosecurity measures for travellers arriving from Indonesia with those applicable to other countries.

Deputy Secretary of Biosecurity, Operations and Compliance, Justine Saunders APM, stated that the department has been closely monitoring the FMD situation since the outbreak began in May 2022.

“FMD case numbers in Indonesia have stabilized and are now comparable to the 70 other countries where FMD is present,” said Ms. Saunders.

“Following revised scientific risk assessments, the department will remove some biosecurity measures at the Australian border that have been in place for travellers from Indonesia since mid-2022.

“Travelers arriving from Indonesia will now be subject to the same biosecurity controls as those from any other FMD-affected country.

“While sanitation foot mats will no longer be used for flights arriving from Indonesia, heightened biosecurity measures will remain for all international flights.”

These measures include:

  • Increased use of detector dogs trained to identify biosecurity risks.
  • Enhanced screening with 2D x-ray technology and trials with advanced 3D x-rays.
  • Real-time risk assessments conducted by Australian biosecurity officers.
  • Targeted communication and increased signage to inform travellers.

Ms. Saunders emphasised that managing risks at the Australian border is part of a broader effort to enhance regional biosecurity.

“Australia continues to support our neighbouring countries and key trading partners in addressing animal disease challenges,” Ms. Saunders said.

“The Australian Government’s support for Indonesia’s FMD response included providing 4 million vaccine doses and training over 100 Indonesian quarantine officers through the Biosecurity Training Centre at Charles Sturt University.

“This support has been pivotal in Indonesia’s effective response to FMD and has reinforced our national biosecurity system.

“Thanks to our robust biosecurity protocols, effective management in Indonesia, and the vigilance of incoming traveller’s, Australia remains free from FMD.”

Fast Facts

  • Sanitation foot mats, introduced at international airports in July 2022 and cruise terminals in September 2022, will no longer be used for travellers from Indonesia starting June 4, 2024.
  • Non-compliance with biosecurity requirements can result in penalties, including fines up to $6,260 and visa cancellations.
  • Since 2022, detector dogs have been trained to identify additional FMD risk products, which will continue to be targeted.
  • Ongoing enhanced measures to address global biosecurity risks include:
    • Real-time risk assessments by biosecurity officers, including post-arrival risk indicators and targeted questioning of travellers.
    • Application of biosecurity profiles to identify high-risk traveller’s, mail, and goods.
    • Referral of high-risk passengers and mail for biosecurity screening.
    • Continued screening with 2D x-ray technology and trials with advanced 3D x-rays.
    • Expanded deployment of detector dogs at all major international airports and mail facilities.
    • Targeted communication and engagement to raise awareness of biosecurity risks and import requirements.

The Australian Government has committed over $10 million to support Indonesia’s response to the FMD outbreak.

 

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Discover Ag Sydney: Spotlighting Careers in the Australian Agriculture Industry

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NOTICE OF MEMBERS EXTRAORINDARY LAND DEALING MEETING

Discover Ag Sydney: Spotlighting Careers in the Australian Agriculture Industry

 

Australia’s largest agricultural careers expo, Discover Ag, is set to take place at Sydney Showground on Wednesday, 26th June. This event aims to showcase the vast array of career opportunities available within one of Australia’s largest and most vital industries.

A Gateway to Diverse Career Paths

Discover Ag is designed to expose students in years 9 to 12 to the multitude of career paths available in agriculture through interactive learning activations. The event will feature over 50 career options, dispelling the common misconception that a career in agriculture is limited to farming. Attendees will have the chance to meet professionals from various fields including data science, engineering, mechanics, animal and soil science, primary production, and marketing, all of whom contribute to the dynamic and expanding agricultural industry.

Promoting Agricultural Education and Careers

RAS Education Manager Duncan Kendall expressed his enthusiasm for unveiling Discover Ag 2024, inviting students from across New South Wales to explore the diverse career opportunities in agriculture.

“We are thrilled to bring Discover Ag to Sydney this June and highlight the incredible range of careers available within the agricultural sector,” Kendall said.

“The event, previously known as AgVision, plays an instrumental role in connecting students with organisations and individuals working within the industry. It provides students with a unique opportunity to explore and engage with a variety of careers.”

Kendall emphasised that while working on the land remains a key aspect of agriculture, the industry also offers numerous opportunities in finance, science, engineering, technology, and communications. “Whether you are interested in finance, science, engineering, technology, or communications, there is an opportunity for you to work within an industry that clothes, feeds, and nourishes our nation,” he said.

A Mission to Educate and Inspire

As a not-for-profit agricultural organisation, the Royal Agricultural Society of NSW (RAS) aims to educate the community about the importance of agriculture in Australia. Kendall noted that Discover Ag continues the educational mission of the RAS, which is well-known for its Sydney Royal Easter Show.

“I encourage any student interested in exploring career options within agriculture or any student still searching for their passion to join us in June to learn more about this vital and growing sector,” Kendall added.

Event Details

  • When: Wednesday, 26th June 2024, from 9:00 am to 3:30 pm.
  • Cost: $15
  • Where: Sydney Showground, Sydney Olympic Park.
  • Who: Secondary school students, TAFE students, and university students. Students can attend individually outside of school, TAFE, or university, but those under 18 must be accompanied by an adult.

Learn More and Register

To learn more about Discover Ag or to book tickets, visit www.rasnsw.com.au/education.

About the Royal Agricultural Society of NSW

Discover Ag is organised by the Royal Agricultural Society of NSW (RAS), which has been promoting and supporting Australian agriculture since 1822. The RAS is renowned for organising the iconic Sydney Royal Easter Show, and through Discover Ag, it continues its mission to educate and inspire the next generation about the opportunities within the agricultural sector.

Conclusion

Discover Ag Sydney provides a unique platform for students to explore the diverse and exciting career opportunities within the agricultural industry. By attending, students will gain valuable insights and be inspired to consider a future in a sector that plays a crucial role in sustaining and enriching the nation.

 

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Demand for Fodder Remains High Despite Recent Rainfall

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Demand for Fodder Remains High Despite Recent Rainfall

 

Recent rainfall across four states has not reduced the high demand for fodder needed to support drought-affected livestock.

Australia’s most trusted rural charity, Rural Aid, reported that farmers were immensely relieved by the recent rains, particularly in south-western Western Australia, which had been experiencing its driest conditions on record.

“This rain could not have come at a better time given the circumstances producers had in front of them,” said Rural Aid CEO John Warlters.

“But we don’t expect the demand for fodder, or the challenge in sourcing it, to change in the short to medium term.”

Many farming families, having received only light relief, still hope for more rain in the coming weeks.

Large areas of Victoria remain exceptionally dry, with autumn rainfall among the lowest 10% on record for the south-west, west, north-east, and East Gippsland. South Australia has seen some relief with average falls between five to 15mm but remains parched.

“Rural Aid continues to be active right across the country at this time, providing hay for livestock, drinking water, and financial relief,” Mr. Warlters added.

“Our counsellors are particularly active, providing one-on-one support and attending various industry events to ensure they are visible and easily accessible to anyone who wants to chat.”

In the past month, Rural Aid coordinated 29 fodder drops across the country.

Western Australia:
Funded in part by the Cook Government, Rural Aid delivered stock feed, hay, water tanks, emergency household drinking water, and counselling support. They connected with farmers and families at drought resilience events in Yornup and Manjimup.

South Australia:
A series of hay drops over multiple weeks have been scheduled, with the most recent drop at Quorn on Monday (June 3). Further drops are planned, pending additional rain and continued access to fodder.

Victoria/NSW:
Rural Aid counsellors continue to provide wellbeing support while discussions with industry stakeholders are ongoing to determine how Rural Aid can best support farmers beyond its traditional service delivery.

Queensland:
Producers impacted by late 2023 bushfires across the Southern and Western Darling Downs are receiving support with hay and counselling. Additionally, 30 volunteers recently spent a week working on nine properties in and around Tara.

Mr. Warlters emphasised that Rural Aid heavily relies on community and corporate support to fund its activities and is encouraging tax-time donations to sustain its efforts.

“With June 30 just around the corner, now is an opportunity to make a tax-deductible donation in support of Rural Aid and ‘our mates in the bush’ – the farming families that need our help.”

 

For more rural news, click here.

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