2011-10-14 Victorian Parliamentary Inquiry submissions

A Future for Farming in Victoria

Trade figures regularly show the extent to which both global and local markets depend on Victoria’s farming sector. Yet, Paul Weller MP, Member for Rodney, believes that the industry which produces so much quality food and fibre products is in need of urgent attention.

‘Our farming sector is now facing a crisis because of a shortage of workers,’ Mr Weller said.

A new Inquiry by the cross-party Rural and Regional Committee, which Mr Weller Chairs, will investigate the capacity of the farming sector to attract and retain young people. ‘We are now calling for submissions to the Inquiry. We want input from farming communities that are facing workforce issues and that can help formulate solutions,’ said Mr Weller.

Mr Weller is asking all Victorians involved in agriculture, aquaculture and forestry industries and in farming communities to get involved with the Committee’s Inquiry. ‘The Committee will visit rural and regional Victoria for input from communities themselves on what the issues are and how problems can be solved.’

Mr Weller said that farming communities and the agriculture industry in Victoria are a vibrant and essential part of our economy and culture, and we need to ensure that the food and fibre industries in Victoria thrive so that all Victorians can benefit.

The Committee will look into:

  • attracting and retaining young people;
  • career pathways for young people, recruitment strategies and opportunities;
  • responding to an ageing workforce;
  • models of farm business ownership;
  • skills development, community capacity and farm family health; and
  • the Victorian economy and government policy.

The National Centre for Farmer Health has prepared a submission to the inquiry headed by Rodney MP Paul Weller.  We will be attending the inquiry hearing at Dunkeld on Monday 17th October.  Also joining us at the inquiry will be local Penshurst farmers James and Lucie Peddie.

Further information:

Reaping the benefits of agricultural education and training

The agricultural sector makes a significant contribution to the economic prosperity of Victoria, and a highly skilled agriculture workforce is vital to ensuring the sector’s continuing productivity and success,” said the Committee’s Chair, Mr David Southwick MP. Employment in the Australian sector is predicted to increase by 27,100 jobs over the next five years, however, there is widespread concern that employee supply will struggle to keep pace with this future demand.

A priority for the Inquiry will be to examine the effectiveness of current agricultural-based education and training in providing skilled employees to the agriculture sector.  As part of this, the Committee will review courses offered in Victorian schools; the vocational education and training sector; higher education institutions; and other informal educational and training environments.

There is an increasing demand in the sector for more specialised skills relating to the use of new technologies, innovation, and understanding global markets,” stated Mr Southwick. “We will investigate the extent to which these workforce training needs are being met by existing courses and curriculum.”

The Committee is also very interested in exploring the role and capacity of the agricultural sector to contribute to the development of relevant education and training courses, as well as the effectiveness of training offered in less formal settings in enhancing the skill levels of workers in the sector.

The National Centre for Farmer Health has prepared a submission to the inquiry headed by Caulfield MP David Southwick.