Response to the National Agricultural Workforce Strategy: Learning to excel report

The Federal Government has released its response to the independent National Agricultural Labour Advisory Committee’s report – National Agricultural Workforce Strategy: Learning to excel.

Minister for Agriculture and Northern Australia, David Littleproud said the response addresses all 37 recommendations and reinforces the government’s commitment to the agricultural workforce.

“The Australian Government is committed to building a fit-for-purpose agricultural workforce and will continue to work with industry,” Minister Littleproud said.

“Agriculture is on the up and up, seeing-off some recent tough times and emerging from the challenges of the pandemic, including labour shortages, to scale new heights in farmgate value.

“The industry provides career opportunities across regional and rural Australia and access to a secure and skilled workforce is vital to achieve its vision of a $100 billion industry by 2030.

“In March I released the Committee’s report along with a roadmap outlining the Australian Government’s vision for the sector. The roadmap has and continues to provide the framework for our ongoing response to the report.

“In the 2021-22 Budget we invested around $30 million in agricultural workforce through measures such as AgATTRACT which invests $25.2 million to showcase the diverse career opportunities on offer and AgFAIR which provides $4.6 million to help agriculture employers attract and retain workers.

“The response also outlines how we are responding to the sector’s agricultural workforce needs through the National Agricultural Innovation Agenda, vocational education and training reforms, and work towards a National Labour Hire Registration Scheme.

“Yesterday’s Mid-Year Economic and Fiscal Outlook (MYEFO) update further reinforces the Government’s ongoing commitment to investing in a more skilled and capable workforce, including in the agriculture sector.

“Many of the recommendations require collaboration with state governments, industry and a wide range of stakeholders. The Australian Government will continue to work with industry and governments to build a secure and skilled agricultural workforce for the future.

“I would also take this opportunity to again thank John Azarias and the Committee for their work in delivering the National Agricultural Workforce Strategy Report.”

To read the government’s response visit here. For further information on the National Agricultural Workforce Strategy visit here.

What is contained in strategy report

  • The National Agricultural Workforce Strategy report was developed by the independent National Agricultural Labour Advisory Committee.
  • The Mid-Year Economic and Fiscal Outlook (MYEFO) workforce highlights include:
    • $87.2 million to introduce the Australian Agriculture Visa (AgVisa) scheme, with ongoing funding from 2025-26.
    • $81.3 million to increase Pacific labour mobility
    • $1.7 million to extend the AgMove program trial to 30 June 2022 and provide additional funding for Harvest Trail Services providers to continue delivering assistance to more participants
  • As workforce matters are a shared responsibility and all stakeholders need to take action to ensure the report’s potential is realised, some recommendations have been referred to state governments, industry, and other stakeholders.