GrainGrowers statement: National Agriculture Worker Code

2 September 2020

Statement to be attributed to GrainGrowers Chairman and grower Brett Hosking

“GrainGrowers are disappointed to hear reports of the rejection of the National Agriculture Worker code by the Australian Health Protection Committee.

We recognise the many demands and difficult decisions for state and territory leaders and health authorities during this pandemic but stress again that the safe movement of agricultural workers is imperative for the forthcoming harvest.

We have worked with Agriculture Ministers and agencies in recent weeks and trust that harmonisation can be achieved and believe that a clear, consistent and practical National Agriculture Worker code will assist with the “hard” border closures and restrictive travel permits that are currently presenting significant challenges for growers.

We call on the Australian Health Protection Committee to work proactively with the Agriculture Minister’s forum and farmer representative groups to find a workable solution. Unfortunately, the demands of agriculture mean that intrastate solutions aren’t always viable.

We join our fellow Australians in wanting to ensure safe and proper processes are in place to manage COVID-19 and have been heartened by the proactive response of our growers in getting these measures in place on the farm.

What is critical is ensuring our agricultural workforce is safely in place by getting the Code finalised, so in turn we are equipped to deliver what looks to be a bumper harvest that will help Australia’s economic recovery.”