The Sheep Meat Council of Australia and the Cattle Council of Australia is calling on the Federal Government for a more considered approach to its proposal to abolish the 457-visa program to mitigate the potentially detrimental flow-on effects to Australia’s red meat industry.
Cattle Council of Australia President, Howard Smith says it is imperative for the industry to be able to overcome skill set shortages in the domestic labour market with access to international workers.
“The meat processing sector directly employs more than 200,000 people and is Australia’s significant employer in rural and regional areas.”
“The Industry has struggled to find domestic workers willing to undertake the processor related roles and has previously managed the skills shortage by accessing additional labour using the 457-visa program.”
Mr Smith says that through effective labour market policies, the Red Meat Industry Strategic Plan outlines that by 2030, from productivity benefits alone, the red meat industry can deliver an additional $2.11 billion to the Australian economy but needs certainty of workforce.
Fellow Sheepmeat Council of Australia President, Jeff Murray, says more careful consideration is now warranted.
“For the sustainability of the entire red meat industry, with a processing sector that is already struggling with record energy prices and regulatory costs, it is crucial that the Federal Government carefully considers any labour market changes and the potential impact on the industries international competitiveness”.