Labour is an essential part of any agricultural production system and the agribusiness industry is facing a significant workforce crisis. The need for a number of Australian commodities exports, including dairy products, sugar, beef and oil, are expected to continue to rise to support China’s demand, however, a labour shortage is putting a minor halt to the expected growth in the industry.
The industry was already beginning to see a downturn in new workers entering the agribusiness workforce and then came COVID-19.
Australian agriculture relies on migrant workers as an integral part of its workforce. Many parts of the industry have been heavily impacted by the travel restrictions imposed by the COVID-19 pandemic including international and domestic border closures. Keeping up with production has taken a physical and mental toll on the remaining workforce as businesses struggle after months without respite.
While several states are exploring quarantine arrangements in an attempt to combat this labour shortage, these solutions may fall short as the harvest for winter crops is fast approaching. Although parts of Australia will be expecting an above average season due to favorable weather conditions and strong prices, many farmers fear an extended harvest season due to labour shortages could expose them to adverse weather events that will spoil an otherwise solid year.
The labour shortages also exist beyond the farm gate as GrainCorp look at new ways to recruit nearly 3,000 casual workers needed this season. The industry is begging for solutions to the labour shortage, including allowing fully vaccinated workers into the country and allowing workers to quarantine on the isolated farms.
Our specialist agribusiness team have a wealth of experience working with primary producers, agriculture and food business and understand the challenges facing businesses in the industry at the moment. If you would like tax compliance assistance, business advice or business analysis, please contact Michael Trimble on 03 5443 0344 or email firstname.lastname@example.org