On the 21st of September the Minister for Agriculture Mary-Anne Thomas announced a new amendment that will assist farm businesses to attract and retain vital workers. Amendment VC202 to the Victorian Planning Provisions exempts the requirement for a permit for the accommodation of up to 10 agricultural workers on farms that are located within a Farming Zone and are greater than 40 hectares in size.
The announcement brings welcome relief to farmers who have been struggling to find seasonal workers for peak harvest and picking seasons during the Covid-19 pandemic.
Amendment VC202 sits within the Government’s $84 million dollar boost to the Victorian agriculture industry which includes $6 million dollars towards the Seasonal Workforce Accommodation Program and $5.2 million dollars in grants through the Agriculture Workforce Plan.
These programs will support businesses to build or update new worker accommodation and will assist with the development of pastoral and transport services for 2,000 workers in key horticulture areas. The amendment will also help to reduce the seasonal pressure on the housing supply in regional towns and rural areas which compliments Victorian Government’s commitment to reduce housing shortages and other barriers to the attraction of regional workforce.