A Liberal-chaired parliamentary committee has renewed calls for a dedicated agriculture visa, claiming that easier access to migrant workers is needed to alleviate purported chronic skills shortages:
The lower house’s standing agriculture committee on Monday released its findings from an inquiry into growing the sector to a $100 billion industry by 2030.
WA Liberal MP Rick Wilson chaired the committee, which backed longstanding industry calls to introduce a special visa type…
“A dedicated agriculture visa should allow for migrants to work in low-skilled positions and apply to stay for at least a year or to regularly return to Australia on a seasonal basis,” the report says.
“The visa conditions should not be tied to a specific employer, but rather to a specific industry, i.e. horticulture, or a specific region. The purpose for this condition would be to reduce worker exploitation”…
Senior Nationals have previously supported an agriculture visa but the idea failed to gain traction within cabinet.
There is abundant evidence of temporary migrants being ruthlessly exploited on Australia’s farms. Giving farms easier access to migrant slaves will merely exacerbate the exploitation. And that’s the whole point – cheap labour is the goal here.
We have been repeatedly fed the lie that there are insufficient Australians willing or able to do farm work, thus leading to calls to allow easier access to temporary foreign workers.
However, as The New Daily’s series of investigative reports have shown (here, here and here), thousands of Australians have been rejected for farm work because they must be paid legal wages and are less easy to exploit.
As we keep saying, allowing Australia’s farmers to pluck cheap migrant workers en masse is bad for both wages and long-run productivity.
Australia’s mining industry is world class and attracts workers to far out places by paying excellent wages.
Cut off the migrant slave labour pipeline and Australian farms will be forced to raise wages. In turn, this will drive farms to automate and lift productivity, boosting both profits and wages.
However, if the government allows farms to continue relying heavily on cheap foreign labour, then capital will shallow, productivity will stagnate, and both wages and profits will decline.
There’s a reason why farms in advanced nations are more likely to involve a handful of workers operating heavy machinery, whereas in low-wage developing countries farms are manned by many workers doing manual labour.
The higher cost of labour in advanced countries forces farms to invest in labour saving machinery, which lifts productivity.
If farm margins are so weak then they should be forced to consolidate, driving economies of scale, improved productivity, and higher profit margins.
The key ingredient for Australian agriculture to flourish is productivity-enhancing automation, not migrant slave labour.
One wonders how Australia survived (not starved) for so many generations before the industry was corrupted by greedy labour hire companies abusing temporary migrants with poor wages and working conditions?
The whole industry needs a clean-out, not pandering from the Coalition government.
- Demographia: Australia 3rd most unaffordable housing market - March 4, 2021
- Links 4 March 2021 - March 4, 2021
- Roy Morgan business confidence strongest since 2014 - March 3, 2021