Fruit will be left to rot on the trees and in the ground as a result of the Andrews Labor Government still refusing to pave the way for the quarantine of seasonal workers.
Figures published this week show that while other Australian states have successfully brought in hundreds of workers, not a single flight has come into Victoria.
Shadow Minister for Agriculture Peter Walsh said cleaning up the mess left by former Agriculture Minister Jaclyn Symes should be the priority for new Minister Mary-Anne Thomas.
“It’s absolutely infuriating to watch our top-quality, clean, green Victorian produce being left to rot on the trees or in the ground because of the Victorian Government’s pig-headed, city-centric arrogance,” Mr Walsh said.
“Federal Agriculture Minister David Littleproud has championed industry’s proactive solutions and opened the gates for a seasonal worker quarantine framework to be set up in Victoria.
“The only thing holding our multi-billion-dollar horticulture and meat processing sectors back is the Andrews Labor Government.”
Daniel Andrews dismissed a proactive solution put forward by the Australian Fresh Produce Alliance in October last year that would bring in up to 200 seasonal workers each fortnight.
The six-month plan has the support of industry and the Federal Liberal Nationals Government and would see workers quarantine in a purpose-built facility in Mildura.
Mr Walsh said there was no excuse for the Andrews Labor Government still failing to do its bit to get workers into the state and on-farm.
“Victorian Labor blaming the Federal Government doesn’t get workers on farm,” Mr Walsh said.
“The Federal Government has done its bit and so has industry, responsibility for this worsening crisis is squarely at the feet of the Andrews Labor Government.
“Victoria has a proud reputation of a strong agriculture sector that underpins our state’s economy, but that’s all at risk under a Labor Government that has deliberately refused to solve the most pressing issue facing our farmers today.”