What is the Agriculture Workforce Plan?
The Agriculture Workforce Plan is a program to support agriculture, food processing and critical food supply chain businesses in rural, regional and outer metropolitan areas in Victoria, to meet their labour and operational needs during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
The $500 million Working for Victoria initiative helps Victorians who have lost their jobs due to the economic impacts of coronavirus (COVID-19) find new work opportunities. The Agriculture Workforce Plan is a $50 million component of the Working for Victoria initiative. The Plan will support the state’s vital food supply chain and agricultural businesses in rural, regional and outer metropolitan Victoria to ensure that they have the workforce that they need and to ensure they can continue operating and maintain production capacity where possible.
The plan assists agriculture, food processing and critical food supply chain businesses in rural, regional and outer metropolitan areas in Victoria with recruitment support and financial support for:
- business adaptation
- worker relocation and transport
- worker induction and training
- e-commerce support and training.
Agriculture Victoria and Regional Development Victoria are working together to support vital industries such as horticulture, dairy, meat, food production, manufacturing, as well as transport and logistics services.
There are three funding streams available under the Agriculture Workforce Plan to support eligible businesses:
- The Worker Relocation and Transport stream will support eligible businesses to attract workers to fill vacant job roles through providing financial support to businesses to offset the costs of worker accommodation and travel to work costs. A daily travel-to-work allowance of up to $50 per employee and daily accommodation support of up to $200 per employee is available to businesses unable to fill eligible roles locally.
- The Worker Induction and Re-Training stream will support eligible employers to induct workers into new job roles and deliver training that has been necessitated as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
- The Business Adaptation stream will support eligible businesses to meet the costs of complying with COVID-19 health, safety and social distancing requirements or adapt to required business changes imposed from the COVID-19 pandemic. Under the program, individual grants between $10,000 and $300,000 will support eligible businesses cover up to 50 per cent of the cost of necessary adaptations to their workplaces.
Businesses are eligible to apply for support if they meet the following criteria:
- They employ staff and have a business operation located in Victoria;
- They hold an Australian Business Number (ABN) and held that ABN at 16 March 2020 (date that the COVID-19 State of Emergency was declared);
- They have, or are expected to have, a turnover of more than $75,000 in the 2019- 20 financial year; and/or had a turnover of more than $75,000 in 2018-19; or can show that under normal conditions would generate a turnover of more than $75,000.
- They are a private sector business and are an incorporated body, partnership, incorporated not-for-profit or trust;
- They are not in voluntary administration or receivership;
- They can demonstrate a track record of providing a safe and healthy workplace, including accommodation or travel to work transportation if provided; and
- Their Victorian operations align with one or more of the following industry sectors:
- Primary producers, including:
- Horticulture (including nurseries, flower farms and growers of inedible plants)
- Viticulture and wine
- Cropping (Grains and hay)
- Livestock (including meat, wool, eggs and other animal products)
- Aquaculture Production
- Food production businesses
- Food processors, including:
- Meat, poultry, fish and seafood
- Fruit & vegetable
- Small goods (e.g. cured meats)
- Packaged food and beverages companies that produce products on the Australian Food and Grocery Council emergency pantry list
- Grain transfer and processing
- Commercial bakeries (not retail) that produce products on the Australian Food and Grocery Council emergency pantry list
- Food assurance testing, safety and compliance companies
- Livestock, feed, water, milk collection, agricultural equipment and supply transportation (including collection of agricultural by-products, such as litter and compost, rendering and carcass disposal)
- Food distribution companies (including freight and logistics companies which transport food and groceries alongside other goods and livestock exchanges/sale yards)
- Specialist agricultural/food suppliers and services, including:
- Manufacturers of processing inputs, packaging and packing (e.g. milk bottles, pallets, fruit boxes)
- Specialist suppliers (e.g. fertilisers & chemicals, machinery, irrigation, feed)
- Agricultural transporters (e.g. livestock transportation)
- Specialist services (e.g. Agronomists, vets)
- Labour hire firms – in relation to being placed in the businesses listed above.
- Primary producers, including: