Silver lining on horizon for farmers in Flynn electorate

WHILE the global Covid-19 pandemic has brought misery to millions of people across the world, farming businesses and communities in the Flynn electorate are standing to benefit.

The Federal Government has announced it will to extend working holiday maker and other visas amid the crisis to support regional communities.

Agriculture, Drought and Emergency Management Minister David Littleproud (along with Member for Flynn, Ken O'Dowd) said the visa changes would allow Pacific seasonal workers, working holiday makers and a range of other visa holders who could not leave Australia, including in the Flynn electorate, to continue to work until the health crisis passed or they could return to their home countries.

Ken O'Dowd pictured at 2PH Farms with a conveyor belt filled with mandarines in the background.
Ken O'Dowd pictured at 2PH Farms with a conveyor belt filled with mandarines in the background.

"Agriculture is an essential sector and it relies on temporary visa holders, many of whom arrive and depart Australia on a seasonal basis … these visa holders fill a critical workforce gap in this sector," Mr Littleproud said.

"At the same time, it is critical we manage this labour force to support the ongoing health of regional communities and we've acted to include requirements to ensure visa holders follow self-isolation requirements when they move between regions."

The National Farmers Federation has developed best practice guidance for farmers for accommodation and working arrangements for farm workers (either domestic or migrant) during the Covid-19 outbreak.

"We have asked the Chief Medical Officer to review these guidelines and it is critical that they are then considered by the Australian Health Protection Principal Committee," Mr Littleproud said.

Mr O'Dowd said the visa extensions were one more way the Federal Government was giving Flynn farmers and communities critical support during a difficult start to the year.

"The visa extensions will ensure that Flynn businesses have the skills to protect their interests and maximise their profits," he said.



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