Labor’s rotten deal for Aussie farmers and our tourism industry

Australian farmers and our tourism industry will suffer at the hands of a Shorten Labor government who plan to back an ACTU bid to put new restrictions on working holiday visas.

Minister for Trade, Tourism and Investment said Labor had once again proven that they are beholden to their union masters, falling behind their proposal to ban backpackers working for a second year and putting more restrictions on work in the first year.

"These changes would have a devastating impact on our farmers in every state and will also impact on Australia's thriving tourism industry," Minister Birmingham said.

"Working holiday makers are critical in filling short-term workforce shortages but they also inject billions into Australia's economy each year, particularly in regional areas.

"Labor and the ACTU's plan to abandon altogether the second year working holiday visa would remove over 36,000 Working Holiday visa holders from the Australian economy.

"This is another Union driven policy by Labor that will have a detrimental impact on small businesses and our economy."

Assistant Minister for Agriculture and Water Resources Richard Colbeck said temporary workers made up a significant proportion of Australian agriculture's seasonal workforce working across Australia each year.

"Access to sufficient labour, particularly for seasonal work, is a perennial issue and concern for the industry," Assistant Minister Colbeck said.

"The long standing view of many in agriculture, fisheries and forestry is that reliable access to overseas workers is essential to the productivity and profitability in their sector.

"The Liberal-National Government is committed to expanding and enhancing the Work and Holiday program for all sectors, with recent targeted changes to the program designed to support farmers to fill critical workforce shortages.

"These changes are designed to target genuine workforce shortages in regional Australia without displacing Australian workers.

"For example, a third year visa option will be introduced for working holiday visas, and from 1 July 2019 onwards, those visa holders must complete six months of specified work in regional areas in their second year."

The Liberal-National Government, through Tourism Australia is providing an additional $5 million to attract more backpackers to Australia to help pick the quality fruit we enjoy and to support our farmers and regional towns.

Australia is considered the second most desired destination for a working holiday globally. For the year ending June 2018, there were 309,000 working holiday maker arrivals to Australia, injecting $3.1 billion into the economy.

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