The Australian agriculture industry is awash with farm workers, many of whom are employed in Australia’s vast rural regions.
In fact, the agriculture industry employs more people in Australia than the rest of the economy combined, according to a new report by the Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry.
The report, A New Australia, shows that the number of farmers employed in the agriculture sector grew from 9.2 per cent in 2013 to 13.9 per cent last year, a nearly threefold increase in just three years.
“The trend is clear.
More and more Australians are working in the agricultural sector and this is a good thing,” said Michael O’Brien, the chamber’s chief executive.
It also showed that the numbers of farm workers grew by more than 7,000 between 2013 and 2015, while the number employed in hospitality and retail industries increased by about 1,300.
However, the report showed that many of these workers were already employed by the time the research was conducted.
Despite the significant growth in employment in the industry, Mr O’Connor said the agriculture workforce was also on the decline.
This year, the sector is set to lose more than 3,000 people and more than 11,000 farms, he said.
There is no sign of a return to the peak of the peak farm labour population, when the number peaked in the mid-1990s.
Australia’s growing agricultural industry and growing population is driving the workforce of the agricultural industry to the limit, Mr Brown said.
“Farmers are increasingly looking for work elsewhere, particularly overseas, to get back to the same sort of income that they had a couple of decades ago,” he said, adding that the government needs to focus on training more agricultural workers to compete with overseas labour.
For the second consecutive year, Australia’s agricultural industry has reported a decrease in the number and growth in the workforce.
Agriculture employment grew by 1,700 last year to a record high of 7,130, according the Australian Chambers of Commerce.
But the number is forecast to decline by more over the next 12 months, according industry sources.
While the industry has grown in recent years, the number has remained flat or declined, particularly for those in the hospitality and commercial sectors, Mr Johnson said.
“We’re seeing the trend towards a very slow growth, and that’s not going to change for the foreseeable future,” he added.