Where to from here - the 457 visa

Apr 21, 2017

Dairy is a highly dynamic industry offering lots of opportunities for career growth and development. However, it is no secret that we have domestic labour shortages in regional and rural areas.

Our preference is always to hire Australian workers, but there are not always enough experienced farmhands to meet the demand of our industry. This is despite more than a decade of offering training courses and pathway programs for Australian workers to enter the dairy industry.

ADF has continued to lobby the Department of Immigration and Border Protection (DIBP) for regulation amendments to visas allowing overseas workers to fill vital on-farm and off-farm roles.

This week, the Government announced that the 457 Temporary Work visa will be abolished and replaced with the completely new Temporary Skill Shortage visa by March 2018. ADF is concerned with the changes and is seeking clarification on many aspects from the DIPB.

We have now been advised that the current visa changes will have no impact on the Dairy Industry Labour Agreement, which allows dairy farmers to recruit senior farm hands. We have been assured that:

  • our existing labour agreements remaining in effect;
  • our existing visa holders not impacted unless they apply for another visa impacted by the changes outside of the labour agreement programme; or
  • new nominations that we intend to lodge/related visa applications are not impacted – including applications for occupations which have been ‘removed’ from the standard programme or are now subject to a caveat in the standard programme but remain specified in our agreement.

We also understand that under these changes, which come into effect immediately:

  • dairy cattle farmers are included on the short-term skilled occupation list and only able to apply for a 2-year visa;
  • 2-year visas can only be renewed once, which will lead to an increase in administrative burden and red tape on farmers looking to access these new visas;
  • dairy, like other agricultural commodities is not included on the medium to long term strategic skilled occupation list to access 4-year visas; and
  • changes have been made to the Employer Nomination Scheme (subclass 186) visa and to the Regional Sponsored Migration Scheme (subclass 187) visa.

We are still in the process of gaining clarification on what will happen to current visa applicants who are waiting on approvals and the additional occupations available to support regional employers. 

ADF supports the employment of overseas workers to fill vital on-farm roles. We will continue to liaise with government to ensure dairy farmers that need to employ overseas staff can do so.

John McQueen

Interim ADF Chief Executive Officer

 

Early pricing signals essential

Jun 10, 2016


Many in the dairy industry feel under enormous pressure at the moment. Farmers not only have the challenge of adapting their business plans to recent price shocks – we also pick up the paper to read about it every day. With more processors' opening milk prices due in coming weeks, following Warrnambool Cheese and Butter’s (WCB) announcement today, no doubt some will feel the pressure begin to mount once more.

We recognise that the announcement from WCB will come as a shock to many, given it is well below the cost of production. Despite the disappointing low price, we must recognise that they have heeded calls for early price signals and provided much needed certainty to their suppliers.

While we are an industry under pressure, we are also an industry that has the know-how and motivation to overcome these adversities and thrive in the long term. No one is alone in this scenario and we need to ensure that all farmers feel supported during tough times.

ADF, together with our state members and Dairy Australia is fighting for our farmers. We can’t solve all of the issues farmers are currently facing, but we can work to relieve some of the immediate pressures and accelerate change to ensure this doesn’t happen again.

We have welcomed the promises made by State and Federal Government, now they must stop playing politics and deliver. Farmers need certainty as to their options right now.

While we await Government decisions, there are industry resources available to help farmers manage the impact of recent events. It’s important to make the time to take up these opportunities. Dairy Australia’s Taking Stock provides free one-to-one business analysis that can help you prepare for the season ahead.

The Dairy Farmer Central website launched this week by the Victorian dairy industry, lists all of these tools and more. It also signposts events - some of these events will inform and help you plan for the season ahead, others provide an opportunity to take time out from the farm and get some perspective. We are working to make this website applicable Australia-wide.

These tools are not a silver bullet to restore our businesses but they will help navigate the challenges, so we can move toward a stronger, fairer and more sustainable future.

David Basham

ADF Acting President

Have You Responded to the Regional Wellbeing Survey Yet?

Dec 09, 2015

Open until the 31 December, the 2015 Regional Wellbeing Survey forms an important piece of social research that farming organisations and government agencies draw on to understand farmers’ views and social impacts on a range of regional issues.

This year’s survey covers issues such as drought, water reform, green tape, CSG and mining, sustainable farming practices, markets, farm finance, and innovation. With more than 9000 respondents in 2014, the survey results to provide a sound statistical policy resource. 

For more information and to complete the online survey visit: http://www.regionalwellbeing.org.au


Dairy’s Big Day Out in Western Vic

Aug 13, 2015

The Western Victorian district dairy industry is set to be pumped full of inspiration at an event focussed on positivity and capacity building this September.

The inaugural Dairy Inspire, held in conjunction with the Milk-it-for-More workshops and Profitable Feeding Systems Expo, has been dubbed ‘Dairy’s big day out’ and looks at filling the attending farmers and industry leaders with inspiring stories focussed on resilience, positivity, successful goal building and strategy, market growth and essential communication tools.

Sponsored by the Gardiner Dairy Foundation and WestVic Dairy, the ‘big day out’ is aimed at giving farmers the tools to increase personal capacity and on-farm profitability.

WestVic Dairy Executive Officer Paula Doran said the event on September 2 was firming up to be a significant event on the dairy calendar.

“It’s a mixed bag full of insights to build the skills of our farmers into the future with the over-arching theme of how to make the most of the opportunities we have before us,” Ms Doran said.

Analyst Michael Harvey from Rabobank will speak about short term commodity insights and futurist Paul Higgins will talk about future trends for the coming decades and beyond.

Tanami cowboy Rob Cook will talk about his near-fatal chopper crash on his remote Alice Springs property, and his journey back to life-on-the-land as a tetraplegic, and the resilience and fighting spirit that got him there.

Ms Doran said the day celebrated the dairy industry and the drive for growth, culminating in a dinner in Camperdown that day.

For more information contact the WestVic Dairy office on (03) 5557 1000. Get your tickets here.



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