DRIVING increased consumption of vegetables and potatoes, committing to the ongoing delivery of the Australian Agriculture Visa program and establishing a national labour hire licensing scheme are at the heart of AUSVEG's 2022 Federal election priorities.
Australia's peak industry body for the vegetable and potato sectors, AUSVEG, published its priority list ahead of the upcoming Federal election on Saturday, May 21, to highlight the economic and health benefits that vegetable growers contribute to regional and national communities and their economies.
AUSVEG's election priorities are grouped into nine critical areas to help improve health benefits for the Australian public as well as economic benefits for fresh producers and their communities.
The advocacy group stated that its top three priorities are investment in a behavioural change campaign to increase domestic consumption of vegetables and potatoes, a clear commitment to deliver and expand the ag visa program to ease the labour pressures facing growers and establishing a national labour hire licensing scheme to help protect vulnerable workers and growers against illegitimate labour hire operators.
AUSVEG chief executive Michael Coote said the list was the result of extensive consultation from growers and industry associations from every major vegetable production region.
"AUSVEG represents over 3600 vegetable producers that account for 3.83 million tonnes of vegetable production worth $4.9 billion in farmgate value and over $5 billion in retail value annually - it is one of strongest performers of Australia's agriculture industry that has tremendous potential to continue its growth trajectory," Mr Coote said.
"The production and supply of fresh produce is truly a national industry that employs over 60,000 workers, not to mention the tens of thousands of additional jobs through the supply chain to process, transport and stock produce.
"AUSVEG's 2022 Federal election priority list is endorsed by our State and Territory grower associations and reflects a unified vision for the future success of our industry.
"It includes a range of issues that will help the industry recover from the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as help place the industry in the best possible position to tackle the future challenges that will emerge post-COVID."
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