Ministerial call for the removal of restrictions on agricultural workers crossing the NSW/Victoria border

Ministerial call for the removal of restrictions on agricultural workers crossing the NSW/Victoria border
Ministerial call for the removal of restrictions on agricultural workers crossing the NSW/Victoria border

Deputy Premier John Barilaro and Minister for Agriculture Adam Marshall have today called for the removal of restrictions on agricultural workers crossing the NSW/Victoria border.

The call comes ahead of a meeting of National Cabinet on Friday, where an Agricultural Workers Code will be presented and considered. 

Mr Barilaro said agriculture was an essential industry and that it was imperative restrictions were lifted to ensure farmers had an adequate workforce for the fast-approaching harvest. 

“The situation is now at the 11th hour for many producers across the State. We cannot stand by and watch farmers, crops and businesses face ruin due to the border closure with Victoria,” Mr Barilaro said.

“Agriculture is an essential industry. Our farmers feed and clothe the nation and we must do everything to ensure they can continue to operate as smoothly as possible."

Mr Marshall said he would be taking forward a proposal to a meeting of Agriculture Ministers tomorrow,  which would see sensible safety requirements imposed in exchange for the removal of all other restrictions on the movement of agricultural workers across all borders.

“Our farmers are suffering because the current cumbersome permit system restricts the free movement of agricultural workers across the NSW/Victoria border, beyond 100 kilometres,” Mr Marshall said. 

“As part of that proposal, new requirements would be introduced to ensure the safety of primary producers and rural communities, including having a mandatory COVID Safe Plan in place, the use of PPE by workers as well as robust records keeping to allow contact tracing.

“Our farmers have had a gutful of these senseless border restrictions and so have I.”

The Minister for Agriculture is proposing an Agricultural Workers Code that would allow for the free movement of agriculture so long as COVID-19 safe strategies are in place including individual record keeping, COVID-safe plans, the use of PPE and regular voluntary testing.

 

Tags: 
COVID-19

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