The Victorian Farmers Federation welcomes the partial relaxation of border restrictions announced by both the New South Wales and South Australian Governments, but warns that Victorian farmers will continue to experience problems with the movement of people and product in both states.
VFF President David Jochinke said the need for a common- sense, logic-driven solution is needed now to ensure Victoria’s almost $40 billion agriculture industry can continue to feed the nation without unnecessary restrictions.
“I commend the tireless efforts of Minister Symes and the work being done behind the scenes to get this decision across the line today. I know that she well understands the enormous toll this has taken on Victorian farmers,” Mr Jochinke said.
“Symes is continuing negotiations with her counterparts, not only on border restrictions, but also the eagerly awaited National Agriculture Worker Code.
“I have been talking to farmers day and night, I’ve never seen this level of anxiety and worry from farmers. That is why we need a uniform and consistent approach to these border and labour force issues and not the constant changing of the rules that we have witnessed in the last fortnight.
“Victorian farmers have been hit by drought and bushfire and now COVID-19. We have been looking forward to the prospect of one of our best seasons in years, only to now be tangled up in a web of red tape imposed on us by people who simply do not understand the economic implications.”
The VFF will continue to discuss the frustrating limitations on agriculture that are still in place with the Victorian and Federal Agriculture Ministers and push for a solution through the recently announced National Agriculture Worker Code.
“Our sector cannot have this sort of massive business interruption that we’ve seen over the last fortnight,” Mr Jochinke said.
“We need to be increasing our output, growing the economy and jobs with a skilled and innovative workforce and with an eye to expanding our international market because that is what will take our nation forward.”
“All we want is common-sense decision making so Victorian farmers can continue to do their job which is to feed the nation.”