BERRY growers from across Australia heard the latest about Growcom's Fair Farms Initiative when our Chief Advocate Rachel Mackenzie presented at BerryQuest International in Tasmania last week.
The conference and trade exhibition, the largest for Australia's berry industry, was a prime opportunity for us to share information on key national issues including labour and skilling, and to give an overview of Competition Policy.
Despite some technical difficulties (there was a power outage when Rachel got up to do her presentation) we have received overwhelmingly positive feedback about the value of the information Rachel shared.
Farm labour is a significant issue for the production horticulture sector nationally, and that is where our Fair Farms Initiative comes into play.
The Fair Farms Initiative, being delivered nationally by Growcom in partnership with Freshcare and funded by the Fair Work Ombudsman, aims to ensure workers are treated fairly while they are employed in horticultural farms and pack houses.
Through this initiative, we're supporting growers with tools and information to implement employment practices which comply with workplace relations laws and industry standards.
Rachel updated growers on moves towards a Fair Farms Freshcare certification, which will enable them to demonstrate their compliance to customers and the wider community.
She also gave extended insights into the new Horticulture Code of Conduct.
Everyone must be compliant with this code by April 2018.
Rachel also sat on an industry panel, during which there were discussions around the Seasonal Worker Program, support for a stand-alone agriculture visa, growers successfully employing refugees and the holistic approach taken to labour and skilling under the Queensland Agriculture Workforce Network.
We are obviously keen to work more closely with the berry industry to up-skill berry growers in understanding their obligations, so the opportunity to raise the profile of our Fair Farms Initiative among growers at BerryQuest was invaluable.
We thank the berry industry for the opportunity to present and network at BerryQuest International 2018, and we look forward to working even more closely with the industry going forward.
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