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Harvest Trail Report welcomed, industry continues to call for change 

22 November 2018

The National Farmers’ Federation has commended the Fair Work Ombudsman on the completion of it's Harvest Trail Inquiry.

NFF CEO Tony Mahar said the findings of the five-year inquiry made for salient and often difficult reading but unfortunately, did not come as a surprise.

"The NFF has never shied away from what are frankly, too many instances of worker mistreatment and non-compliance within our industry.

"The Harvest Trail Inquiry will provide a much-needed opportunity for these problems to be ventilated and importantly, for work to continue on developing solutions.”   

To this end, Mr Mahar said the NFF was committed to finding a path forward.

"The NFF is a strong supporter of the Farm Farms Initiative, developed by GrowCom, the peak representative body for Queensland horticulture.

"Through the NFF Horticulture Council, we have also been on the front foot in raising industry's problems in regards to worker exploitation and non-compliance with the Parliament.

"Equally, we have drawn to the attention of the Government, Opposition and crossbenchers, the dire labour shortage farm businesses are facing.

"Farmers experience severe labour deficits all year round but particularly at harvest. It is clear that the current regime isn't meeting the needs of farm employers or workers.

"Some farm employers, unfortunately feel they have no choice but to operate outside the rules. This is not acceptable and must not be allowed to happen.

"We have welcomed recent improvements by the Government to bolster the capacity of the Fair Work Ombudsman to deal with allegations of worker exploitation and to appoint an Industry Workforce Coordinator. 

Mr Mahar said the NFF unreservedly accepted, as the Inquiry suggests, that there are significant workplace compliance issues in the horticulture workforce.

"I stress that the NFF and our members have never had our heads in the sand in regards to the problems.

"That's why we are committed to working with industry and Government to find solutions.

"The Harvest Trail Report provides the ideal platform to continue having the  necessary conversations and ultimately, to taking the positive action required." 

Media Enquiries: Laureta Wallace
P 0408 448 250
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