Letter: Farmers to lose out in farm employment bid

RUMOURS abound through farming circles that the latest push for new visas to alleviate critical labour shortages within the ag sector is “dead in the water” and highlights a government completely out of touch with their traditional supporter base.

Apparently bowing to pressure from those worried about our relations with our Pacific neighbours our representatives have again left farmers forsaken and aggrieved. 

So lame has been the response to the looming crisis that the most imaginative solution put forward so far was Rebekha Sharkie’s latest offering that grey nomads could be used to ease the shortage.

Speaking on a recent episode of ABC Drive’s program she told Nicole Chvastek that she had spoken “to more than 20 older Australians” in her electorate who are travelling around and would “love to earn a bit of extra cash”.

Between her and those enamoured with the Pacific Island Worker Program and Prof Stephen Howe’s strident defence of the program, it looks ever more likely that our control over one of the most crucial elements of our business will be decided by those with no understanding and disdain for our right to voice what we require in order to operate.

Arguments are posed that the program is gaining in popularity which ignore that the uptake may have more to do with lack of choice as a result of the reduction of the pool of back packers. 

No one addresses the reality that these countries have long standing reputations for corruption and nepotism and have oppressive regimes.

As if the Coalition Government hasn’t done themselves enough harm in the last few weeks with their internal issues, thumbing their nose at their traditional base will be just another nail in the coffin.

Governments should be listening to those most relevant to the issue, not taking advice from people utterly removed from the means of production.

Louise Ackland,