Release type: Joint Media Release


Building a stronger workforce for a stronger industry


The Hon Brendan O'Connor MP
Minister for Skills and Training
Senator the Hon Murray Watt
Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry
Minister for Emergency Management

A food supply chain workforce capacity study will be undertaken by Jobs and Skills Australia to identify the best opportunities to grow a targeted workforce in the agriculture sector.
The Minister for Skills and Training, Brendan O’Connor, announced the new study today at the final meeting of the Agricultural Workforce Working Group.
The study will be undertaken between January and June 2024 and represents another successful outcome from the advocacy of the tripartite Agricultural Workforce Working Group. 
Since its establishment at the Jobs and Skills Summit last year, the working group has pursued solutions to attract, skill and retain workers in agriculture and processing.
This has included advocating for the Ag Trade Apprenticeship Project currently being delivered by Skills Insight, the Agribusiness Jobs and Skills Council.
Tripartite engagement on agricultural workforce issues will continue through a quarterly Agricultural Workforce Forum.
Quotes attributable to Minister for Skills and Training, Brendan O’Connor: 
“The capacity study will inform how the training, education and migration sectors can best work together to meet the workforce needs of agriculture and the food supply chain.
“The Albanese Government established Jobs and Skills Australia as an independent body to provide advice to the government, playing a critical role in addressing Australia’s current and emerging workforce skills and training needs.
“JSA's deep industry engagement and qualitative analysis will benefit the agricultural industry by identifying the immediate and emerging skills needs.”
Quotes attributable to Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry, Murray Watt:
“Agriculture is an industry of the future, offering opportunities to apply science and technology, manage the environment sustainably, and contribute to food security at home and around the world.
“To sustainably increase productivity, agriculture and the food supply chain will need a workforce with the right skills, in the right place, and at the right time – and that means having the best data and evidence available.”
National Farmers Federation CEO Tony Mahar:
“The working group had played an important role ensuring that the sector’s perspectives were considered across government.
“Challenges in the agricultural workforce are significant and longstanding.
“To truly move the dial a collaborative approach is best and that’s what the working group has sought to do.”
ACTU President Michele O’Neil:
“It’s important that the decisions made about the jobs and skills needed in the agriculture industry are based on evidence.
“Unions welcome coming together with Government and employers to discuss ways forward for the agriculture industry and its workers.”