Release type: Joint Media Release


First Jobs and Skills Council to focus on agribusiness open for business


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

The Albanese Government’s first Jobs and Skills Council (JSC) is now up and running, which will help the agribusiness sector get the skilled workers they need.

It’s important that sectors are planning for the future, and the Agribusiness JSC, called Skills Insight, has been established as a tripartite body and will continue to be inclusive of the full range of industry views and pursue solutions to skills and workforce challenges currently facing Australian agribusiness.

The industry-led and owned organisation will identify skills and workforce needs, map career pathways across education sectors and develop VET training products.

It will also support collaboration between industry and training providers to improve training and assessment practice, and act as a source of intelligence on issues affecting agribusiness.

Skills Insight will not only be responsible for primary producers, but textiles, clothing and footwear, forestry, timber and furnishing as well, working closely with Jobs and Skills Australia to gain a better understanding of the skills landscape.

This is especially important as businesses in parts of rural and regional Australia cry out for skilled workers in sectors such as cropping, livestock, aquaculture and forestry, along with national shortages of agricultural and forestry scientists and agricultural technicians.

As a first order priority, Skills Insight will develop an initial workforce plan for their industry sectors. This will set a critical path for prioritising and diagnosing workforce challenges as the JSC beds down their operations in the first year.

A further nine JSCs are in the process of being established and are due to be operational by mid-2023.

More information on JSCs is available on Industry Engagement Reforms at

Quotes attributable to Minister Brendan O’Connor:

We’re working with industry to ensure Australia’s VET sector, with TAFE at the heart, is equipping Australians with the skills they need for well-paid, secure work.

JSCs like Skills Insight will have the privilege and responsibility to help shape and direct the skills sector, providing valuable leadership and advice.
This work will be critical in helping to develop the pipeline of skilled workers we need for agribusiness, and for the economy as a whole, while maintaining and building trust in the VET sector.

This comes as the Albanese Government delivers 13,200 TAFE and vocational education and training fee-free places for students in agriculture courses in 2023, while expanding the Australian Apprenticeship Priority List to include more agriculture, processing and veterinary careers.

Quotes attributable to Minister Murray Watt:

Nothing is sown, grown, raised and harvested, delivered or processed without the people who underpin our agriculture sector.

We are listening to the sector about the importance of addressing workforce needs, and how we can skill-up, attract and retain the workers needed for our regions.

This new Council will complement the work of the tripartite Agricultural Workforce Working Group, which has been operational since the Jobs and Skills Summit. The Working Group brings together industry, unions and government to tackle some of the industry’s biggest issues and has already made progress by settling principles for a national labour hire licensing scheme to protect farm workers from exploitation.