Government launches $50m ag job seeker plan

Government launches $50m ag job seeker plan

Coronavirus
ANNOUNECMENT: Agriculture Minister Jaclyn Symes said the plan would help unemployed workers find new jobs.

ANNOUNECMENT: Agriculture Minister Jaclyn Symes said the plan would help unemployed workers find new jobs.

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The plan will help unemployed workers find new work.

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Unemployed workers are set to be matched with critical food industries under a $50 million plan launched by the state government on Wednesday.

The Agriculture Workforce Plan will link workers who have lost their jobs to employers in the agriculture sector, helping agribusinesses and primary producers sure up labour and operational needs.

Agriculture Minister Jaclyn Symes said the pan would give workers a fresh start, ensuring producers could meet high levels of demand during the coronavirus pandemic.

"Through no fault of their own, many people have found themselves out of a job and facing an uncertain future - this is about providing the chance of a new beginning for those workers," Ms Symes said.

The plan is part of the government's $500 million Working for Victoria Fund, established to help workers who have lost their jobs find new employment.

Redeployed workers will have access to cash to upskill under the initiative, with job seekers to be matched where possible to jobs in their regions and towns.

"We can make sure that our amazing farmers have the workforce they need to keep producing for Victoria and for rookie agriculture workers, a new world opens up. It's a win all round," Ms Symes said.

VFF welcomes package

Victorian Farmers Federation vice president Emma Germano, Mirboo North, said the announcement was important for regional communities.

"It's important for jobs, it's important for skills training and for the regional accommodation sector," Ms Germano said.

"We will work with the Victorian Government to ensure that this translates to meaningful outcomes for everyone involved.

"We also want to ensure that the program doesn't disrupt the commercial businesses that already offer services in this space, business continuity is vital in these unprecedented times."

Ms Germano said the agricultural sector was "fortunate" it had classed as critical.

"Unlike so many others, we are open for business," she said.

The government said workers would receive support to relocate if needed, which will provide flow-on benefits for the accommodation sector, which in some areas has been hit with the coronavirus pandemic and December/January bushfires.

"This will be done with the highest health and hygiene protections, and social distancing controls," Ms Symes said.

Individuals, farmers and businesses who wish to register for the plan can visit vic.gov.au/workingforvictoria.

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