Author: Cowan, Lisa
Organisation: The State of Victoria Department of Economic Development, Jobs, Transport and Resources
Published: September 2015
There has been a recognised problem accessing labour in agriculture which can have dire consequences for the productivity and profitability of Victorian agriculture and can lead to poorer wellbeing in rural communities. Understanding the nature of and influences on agriculture workforce issues may help understand the role, if any, for agriculture in addressing state unemployment issues. Relatedly, such understanding may illuminate opportunities for government, especially the Department of Economic Development, Jobs, Transport and Resources (DEDJTR), to support agricultural employment. Toward such an aim, this paper explores the existing literature to consider the nature of workforce issues in Australian and Victorian agriculture. It does so by 1) ‘setting the scene’ about broad workforce issues in agriculture, 2) describing the causes of the workforce problems, 3) considering the role of retention in workforce issues 4) identifying how the problems are managed and 5) offering some insights, based on the changes occurring in agriculture, regarding opportunities for supporting employment in agriculture.