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Now is the time to skill up workers to support agriculture

  • Agriculture sector crying out for more staff
  • Training needs to deliver job ready graduates
  • Ag Kickstarter would get people working on the land

The current pressures facing Tasmania’s agriculture sector highlights the importance of Labor’s Ag Kickstarter policy which aims to get more people working on the land.

Shadow Minister for Primary Industries, Fisheries and Water, Shane Broad, said the agriculture sector was facing some challenging times as the state recovers from COVID-19.

“Fruit growers in particular heavily rely on backpackers for their harvest but with uncertainty surrounding travel due to COVID-19, many growers are concerned they won’t find enough staff locally,” Dr Broad said.

“With more than 20,000 Tasmanians losing their jobs since mid-March due to COVID-19 and visa workers locked out of Australia, it makes good sense to train or reskill people so we can match up displaced workers with agricultural employers crying out for staff.

“The Ag Kickstarter program would deliver a training package that would give graduates essential skills to get the best possible start on the land and a clear pathway to a rewarding career in agriculture.

Dr Broad said the Ag Kickstarter skills package would include:

•             First aid

•             Manual handling

•             Chemical Certification (level 3)

•             Tractor (with loader & 3PL attachment) operation

•             Fork lift operation

•             ATV 4×4 operation

•             Chainsaw operation

•             Work shop safety & awareness (new course)

Dr Broad said Ag Kickstarter is in addition to Labor’s $10 million Free TAFE policy, which would support 5000 Tasmanian students to gain qualifications and find jobs in the state’s fastest growing industries, including building, construction and hospitality.

“Labor’s Ag Kickstarter Program and Free TAFE policy form part of Labor’s COVID-19 Recovery Package which is designed to get Tasmanians back into jobs, help those hardest hit by the pandemic and create a better, fairer and more resilient economy and society.

“The Government needs to adopt the measures outlined in Labor’s recovery package and get this state back on track.”

Shane Broad MP
Shadow Minister for Primary Industries, Fisheries and Water