Horticulture

Pushing for ag visas, water

By Country News

An ag visa and equitable access to water must be among the key priorities of the newly elected government according to Australian Apple and Pear Limited.

Establishing a national netting program, accelerating the seasonal worker program, pursuing tariff and non-tariff barriers, introducing a national labour hire scheme, improving biosecurity education and protecting the right to farm must also be considered says APAL chief executive office Philip Turnbull.

‘‘The combination of ongoing extreme weather events and less than 40 per cent of apple and pear crops under net, ensures our priority with the new government is the establishment of a national netting program,’’ he said in a message to members.

‘‘APAL has been calling on federal and state candidates to support a national scheme to accelerate depreciation for both growers who do not currently have netting and for those who have already invested. For those who have already invested, grower feedback has been that ongoing reinvestment is a reality. In addition to accelerated depreciation, grants and accessibility to low interest loans will directly assist.’’

He said the body had received plenty of positive interest in the program.