The number of farm workers in Australia has increased by more than 10 per cent in the past five years, with more than 2.3 million farm workers on the payroll.
Key points:More than 1.3m farm workers are now on the booksThe government says it has made the changes for farmers with small operationsSource: Department of Agriculture and Agri-FoodDepartment of Agriculture & Agri Food says it is making changes to help farmers and their families achieve their goalsIn the first quarter of 2019, there were 5.4 million farm and pastoral workers, with around 3.5 million employed full-time and 4.3 millon people in agriculture.
There were 1.8 million farm worker on the rolls in Q4 2019, which is down by 8 per cent from Q1 2019.
The number of people employed in agriculture in Australia is expected to rise to 5.7 million by 2021, with the largest increases in regional and remote communities.
A survey of more than 1,000 farmers conducted by the Department of Rural and Regional Affairs (DRRA) in April 2019 found that the median pay rate for rural and remote workers in Q3 2019 was $56,100, with a median annual income of $40,800.
However, there was a significant increase in pay rates for people employed by small farms, with median pay rates of $66,300 in Q1 and $84,900 in Q2 2019.
Dr. James Phelan, the DRRA’s deputy secretary, said the change to the farm labour system would help farmers by ensuring they were compensated for the value of their land.
“We know that people who work in small farming communities have a higher risk of illness and injury,” Dr Phelann said.
“A person who’s a farmer in rural Queensland, for example, may not get sick or injured in the workplace.”
So a change to how our labour market is structured, that makes it so that the farmer gets the compensation for the farm they’re working on.
“The department said the new policy was part of its ongoing commitment to the rural and regional economy and was supported by the Government’s Small Business Investment Program.
It said it would also look to expand training and support programs for farm workers.”
Our commitment to this sector is to provide farm workers with skills, support and skills-related training to improve their ability to do their job and to provide employment for them,” Dr Peter Stilson, the deputy minister of rural and rural employment, said.
In 2016, the Government announced $3 billion in support for small and medium-sized enterprises, including $500 million for the Rural Economic Development Fund.
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