Banks on high alert on debt exposure in dairy sector 

Murray Goulburn’s decision to open 2017 farmgate prices below the cost of production and below market expectations will put farmers in the gun and banks on high alert to revisit their exposure to the dairy sector. The banks have already been running the ruler over New Zealand where their exposures are much higher. Nevertheless there…

Cheap vegetable imports pushing Australian growers out of industry

The viability of Australia’s vegetable industry is under threat from cheap imports, according to industry body AUSVEG. Figures show nationally the amount of land sown to vegetables decreased by 12,000 hectares last financial year, resulting in a $159 million drop in the value of the Australian vegetable industry. In 2014-15 the amount of vegetable-growing operations…

Labour contractor Team Search Harvesting underpays overseas workers

  A LETTUCE farm contractor has signed a workplace pact after short-changing more than 100 overseas workers.   A Fair Work investigation found dozens of international students and working holiday visa-holders were among farm workers in regional Queensland who had been underpaid thousands of dollars. The overseas workers — from Taiwan, Hong Kong, Africa, France,…

Chinese investors on the hunt for Aussie farms 

China is on the hunt for new food sources to feed its one and a half billion people and its central government has ordered $3 trillion be spent securing food and farmland overseas. A significant share of that fortune is already flowing to Australia — a trend likely to increase with the signing of a…

Illegal workers caught in Bowen, including suspected labour contractors

PHOTO The town of Bowen has long been plagued with illegal workers. ABC NEWS Immigration officials have seized a group of illegal workers in the north Queensland town of Bowen, some of whom are suspected of acting as labour-hire contractors in the agriculture industry. Key points: Four men and two women detained from countries including…

What are the issues about fracking in Australia?

Condamine River Queensland! Gas explodes from Australian river near fracking site   What are the issues about fracking in Australia? There are numerous social and environmental issues associated with coal seam and shale gas mining, and fracking comes with its own set of specific concerns on top of that. Here are the key points: All…