Getting a ‘fair go’ is a quintessential part of Australia’s national identity, which is why this Australia Day the National Farmers Federation’s Horticulture Council is officially endorsing and supporting Growcom’s Fair Farms program.
NFF President and Horticulture Council Chair, Fiona Simson, said the quality of Australia’s fresh produce stood out domestically and overseas and its reputation would be further bolstered by an appreciation among consumers and trade partners for the high bar set by Australian employment standards.
“Fair Farms is an industry led solution, created by Australian growers to support Australian growers through the complexity of workplace requirements at a state and federal level, with awareness and training, one-on-one support and formal certification,” Ms Simson said.
“Supply chain partners and consumers can take confidence their fresh produce is grown ethically – with businesses undertaking Growcom’s Fair Farms program having their employment practices assessed against the Fair Farms standard through an independent, third-party audit.
“Endorsement of Fair Farms by the NFF Horticulture Council also sends a strong signal to those nations from where we gratefully receive many migrant workers that our industry is serious about continuously improving the experience of their citizens while engaged in essential harvest work.”
Growcom Chief Executive Officer Stephen Barnard said with the ongoing support from industry groups like the NFF and the Australian Government, the Fair Farms program was poised to grow dramatically in the coming years.
“As the provider of the Fair Farms program, on behalf of the Australian horticulture industry, Growcom was glad last year to receive ongoing funding commitment from the Commonwealth to extend the program,” Mr Barnard said.
“This funding will allow Fair Farms to roll-out comprehensive training and awareness programs across the horticulture sector and guarantee real results for the industry.
“Through this funding Federal Agriculture Minister David Littleproud has shown his faith in our industry, and in the Fair Farms program.
“It is our intention to do justice to the overwhelming majority of employers across Australia horticulture who we know are exemplary employers.”
Industry leader AUSVEG endorsed the social compliance program early and Chief Executive Officer Michael Coote said the program was helping to positively shape the horticulture landscape.
“AUSVEG is proud to have given early support to Growcom as they developed Fair Farms,” he said.
“It again positions Australian growers at the head of the pack – we believe the significance of Fair Farms for our industry is only going to increase as consumers, both at home and abroad, look for ethical sourcing credentials.”
Mr Coote’s sentiments are echoed by other industry leaders like Chief Executive Officer of the Australian Macadamia Society Jolyon Burnett.
Mr Burnett said being able to prove the highest standards of employment practice was a valuable feather in the cap of macadamia growers, particularly while operating in a globally competitive marketplace.
“The macadamia might be an Australian native, but we can never rest on our laurels of being able to grow the best nuts – this extends to how we engage our workers,” Mr Burnett said.
“Fair Farms gives our growers the tools and the training they need to claim with confidence their employment conditions not just meet a minimum legal requirement here in Australia but are some of the best conditions in the world.
“The Australian Macadamia Society is proud to officially lend its name as a supporter of Fair Farms.”