MEDIA RELEASE - Frustrated AG Sector Back to Square One with Government's Agricultural Code

NSW Labor is calling on the Government to help farmers and agriculture businesses access the new Agriculture Code to ensure easier cross-border travel between Victoria and NSW. The Government’s new NSW Agricultural Worker Permits allow workers to travel freely from their home - outside the border bubble, to their workplace. Shadow Minister for Primary Industries, Jenny Aitchison said permit delays are causing problems. One Maitland company, Jurox Animal Health, is still waiting for a permit it applied for on 11 September. The business was told the application would take five business days. The Government has since told Ms Aitchison that despite waiting for 13 days, an employee for Jurox could still wait up to another two weeks before they can travel. Ms Aitchison was also informed that it would be “pointless for Jurox to try and progress their application as it would be made redundant when the Service NSW Website is updated with the promised bespoke portal for the Agriculture Worker Code.” “The Government needs to stop wasting precious time and support the agriculture industry,” Ms Aitchison said. “This is completely unacceptable. Time and again since the bushfires started over a year ago, this Government has been promising help to farmers and the Ag sector, but when they go to access the help – it’s just not there. “This Government has been negligent in preparing for the impact of borders closures on the $16 billion agriculture industry.” Ms Aitchison is also urging the Minister for Agriculture Adam Marshall to give NSW’s southern border as much attention as the border between Queensland and New South Wales. “Why won’t he come down and hear what’s happening on the southern side of the state – doesn’t he care about the farmers down here?” she said. Labor Duty MLC for Albury Tara Moriarty said she had been dealing with many people who have been impacted by the southern border closures and cannot continue their businesses arrangements. “While agriculture workers needed urgent help, there are businesses that are losing money every day due to the Government’s border closures. The NSW Cross Border Commissioner has been missing in action.”