Centofanti asks if SA Labor will stand up to unions on Ag Visa
Newly appointed SA Liberal shadow minister for primary industries, Nicola Centofanti MLC, has questioned whether a successful approach by the one-term Marshall government on migrant workers in horticulture will continue under state Labor.
The Riverland resident and leader of the Opposition in the Legislative Council spoke with Flow about a state migrant worker scheme federal agriculture minister David Littleproud said was the 'gold standard' for farm labour supply:
"Under the current federal government and previously with us in government, at a state-wide perspective, we've been able to find the workers that we've needed under the Pacific Islander labour scheme and moving forward as well, that is what the ag visa is designed to do.
"During the COVID period, obviously there were some issues there but we were very proactive in developing the quarantine facility at Paringa and that really kick-started the movement of those workers from the Pacific Islands into South Australia."
Earlier this week in their policy launch regarding the Pacific, eagle-eyed analysts noted that Labor had decided it would confine the Coalition's new agriculture visa to Pacific Island nations alone. Mrs Centofanti expressed doubt a federal Labor government would support adequate farm labour supply:
"I'd be asking the (SA) Agricultural Minister (Clare Scriven MLC) what she's going to be doing to make sure that we are continuing to get workers to pick our fruit."
"My understanding is that the ag visa; Vietnam is the only country to have signed the memorandum of understanding with the federal government and my understanding is that's because the ACTU have been going around with a bit of a scare campaign."
"I'd really like to see Minister Scriven explain how she's going to solve the farm labour shortage without upsetting her union friends at the ACTU."