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02 September 2020
A Victorian farmers leader has described news of rejection of a national agriculture code to allow movement across state borders during the COVID-19 pandemic as ‘irresponsible’ and ‘a kick in the guts’.
Victorian Farmers Federation president David Jochinke pulled few punches in responding to media reports that the Australian Health Principal Committee, the national’s expert medical panel, had rejected the code.
“Reports today about the irresponsible rejection of the National Agriculture Worker code are a complete kick in the guts for farmers,” he said.
“I cannot overstate the devastation many of our regional communities now face, many of whom have been hit by drought, bushfire and now COVID-19.
“The VFF has been extremely clear that there is an urgent need for free movement of the agricultural workforce.
“It beggars belief that farmers who provide the food and fibre to feed the nation continue to be hamstrung by people who simply do not understand the economic implications.”
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Australian Associated Press reported that it believed the committee failed to unanimously endorse the code last night.