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By Joel Fitzgibbon

01 September 2020

Labor is calling for the Prime Minister to clarify progress on the Agricultural Workers’ Code, and give assurance that an announcement will be made on Friday.
 
If a nationally consistent Agricultural Workers’ Code is not delivered this Friday as promised, the Prime Minister must accept the blame or consider the future of his Agriculture Minister.
 
The Prime Minister must urgently act to provide farmers and the agriculture sector with a strategy to ensure they are not left without desperately-needed seasonal workers, particularly in horticulture, mango and stone fruit sectors.
 
On 21 August the Prime Minister said  National Cabinet noted discussions had commenced on an Agricultural Workers’ Code, and agreed further work should be undertaken by Agriculture Ministers to deliver a paper to be considered by National Cabinet.
 
The Prime Minister claimed the Agricultural Workers’ Code will create a nationally-consistent approach to the Australian agricultural workforce.
Currently, there is confusion as to who is actually developing the Agricultural Workers’ Code.

Yesterday, NSW Deputy Premier, John Barilaro, tweeted that Ag Ministers would consider a proposed Agricultural Workers’ Code today, and it would be considered by National Cabinet on Friday.

There is no AgMin meeting being held today. 
 
The agriculture sectors need certainty about how the Agricultural Workers’ Code will work in a nationally consistent manner.
 
The fact that the Minister for Agriculture, David Littleproud, has not brought together state Ag Ministers to discuss the code will disappoint many farmers, who will be closely watching the outcomes of National Cabinet this Friday.