Flexibility for growers

May 31, 2024 9:03 am in by
Image by Hans from Pixabay

Local horticultural producers have mostly welcomed a reprieve on PALM (Pacific Australia Labour Mobility) scheme work hour changes.

The widely used program locally, has seen Pacific Island workers take roles on Riverland properties for several years, seen as vital for many key horticultural industries

Federal Labor had proposed changes to the program to legislate producers needed to offer a minimum of 30 hours of work each week.

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Several agricultural industry groups called this inflexible, and called for this to be 120 hours over four weeks, citing the seasonal nature of farm work.

Just this week, those changes were adopted by the Government, something the National Farmers Federation say is a step in the right direction.

Jolyon Burnett, Chair of the NFF Horticulture Council, said industry was encouraged the Albanese Government had heeded advice that the original settings would result in fewer employers engaging with PALM and fewer workers from the Pacific able to benefit from the opportunity of earning great wages in Australia.
“Business confidence in horticulture is at a low ebb right now, and a lot of that has got to do with a lack of certainty in our workforce options,” Mr Burnett said.