Australian programme boosted by federal government funding 

Australia’s Fair Farms programme has reached a major milestone with 13,000 workers now covered under the initiative.

The brainchild of Queensland horticulture body Growcom, the programme provides Australian fresh produce companies withinformation and training on ethical employment conditions. In addition, participants in the programme can demonstrate their compliance to their customers, workers and consumers through certification.

“The programme provides a level of certainty for workers and for employers,” Growcom chief executive Rachel Chambers said.

“The intention is to ensure both the worker and the employer are set up for success and sustainable outcomes - we need each other now more than ever.

“Right across Australia there is a severe worker shortage, and this programme opens the gates to hiring staff in what is an incredibly competitive environment.”

“It again positions Australian growers at the head of the pack – we believe the significance of Fair Farms for our industry is only going to increase as workers both at home and abroad look for jobs with businesses that have these credentials.”

Growcom chair Belinda Frentz said federal government funding is helping to raise awareness of the programme, thereby providing a pathway to a third-party audit and subsequent certification.

“I’m proud of the progress the program has made so far and to see that more and more workers are covered under the program is encouraging,” Frentz said.

“Thank you to the new federal government for the continued support of this programme and in particular the minister for agriculture, fisheries and forestry, Murray Watt.

“For the programme to succeed, it’s a collaborative effort – yes, it’s industry-led for growers – and to have the support of the federal government and minister Watt makes a world of difference.”

The Fair Farms National Conference & Awards will take place on 14 October at the Opal Cove Resort, Coffs Harbour.