THE Federal Government needs to adopt an agricultural workforce strategy that recommends an amnesty on undocumented farm workers in Australia.
Member for Mildura Ali Cupper said the government-commissioned report was released more than two weeks ago and the government needed to fast-track implementing its recommendations.
“There are up to 100,000 undocumented farm workers in Australia,” Ms Cupper said.
“Agriculture Minister David Littleproud was quoted as saying the government would respond to the report in the ‘coming months’ but we really need action on this issue as soon as possible.
“I have been advocating for an amnesty on undocumented workers since 2019. There has been extensive consultation about this issue – we don’t need more consultation. We need action.”
Ms Cupper said an amnesty was widely supported by growers and industry groups and it was disappointing the government continued to use a ‘tough on borders’ approach to the issue.
“The Federal Government – and Liberal Party in particular – need to drop the ‘national security risk’ and ‘border control’ façade. These people are here, they are contributing to our society and we need to provide a pathway to make them legal.
“It’s great that Member for Mallee Anne Webster and three other National Party MPs have been pushing for the amnesty and I hope the Coalition listens to them.”
Ms Cupper said it was disappointing the report rejected calls for an agriculture-specific visa despite industry groups lobbying for one.