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Workers urged to speak out if they are mistreated on farms
NATIONAL Farmers' Federation president Fiona Simson encour- ages workers to report any on-farm mistreat- ment or abuse to the rel- evant authorities.
“As a community, we must all work together to stamp out such abhorrent conduct – conduct that is not befitting of the stand- ards and expectations of contemporary Australia, and in a few cases is simply illegal.
sault, it is a police matter, or a complaint should be made to the local police, Crime Stoppers on 1300 333 000 or in the case of an emergency by calling 000.
the reputation of the ma- jority who do the right thing,” Ms Simson said.
“Enough is enough.
“I continue to be sick- ened to learn of instances where often young men and women, many visitors to our country, are sub- ject to mistreatment when working on Australian farms,” Ms Simson said.
“Community mem- bers, be they politicians, farmers or farm workers, also have a duty to re- port operators potentially doing the wrong thing,” Ms Simson said.
“Most importantly, these actions have a profound, often long-lasting dam- aging impact on the men and women subject to them.”
“I can’t be more direct, if you are a farm worker and you believe you have been subject to mistreatment, you must report your ex- perience either to the Fair Work Ombudsman or the police.”
“Seasonal, short term workers are at the heart of our sector.
Ms Simson advises if a worker believes they have been underpaid, they must inform the Fair Work Om- budsman by calling 13 13 94, if the mistreatment is of a potential criminal nature, such as sexual as-
“It is important to high- light these issues in public discourse, but to get real action the available chan- nels must also be utilised.
Fair Farms supports all members of the Aus- tralian horticulture supply chain with the tools, infor- mation and training they need to be a compliant and ethical employer.
“Without them it just wouldn’t be possible to plant, pick and pack our produce and get it to market.
“Reporting, investigating and ultimately holding to account those not com- plying with the law is the most effective deterrent.”
“We have long called for the introduction of a national labour hire reg- ulation scheme, to hold labour hire entities to account, which research shows is a link in the ag workforce, where wrong- doing occurs,” Ms Simson said.
Other useful resources about workplace safety, rights and conditions are Fair Work Ombudsman’s Horticulture Showcase, SafeWork Australia, Job- search and the Australian Human Rights Commis- sion.
“Today and every day, I compel workers, who believe they have been mistreated to report their experience to the appro- priate authority.”
“Politicising and op- portunistic statements are one thing, actions and so- lutions are another.
The NFF’s Horticul- ture Council has spear- headed efforts to stamp out worker mistreatment and supports the grower- led Fair Farms initiative.
The introduction of a dedicated ag workforce solution, as called for by the NFF for four years now, would ensure for- eign workers holding the visa would only be placed with fully accredited em- ployers.
National Farmers’ Federation president Fiona Simson.
A dedicated ag workforce solution would ensure for- eign workers holding the relevant visa would only be placed with fully accredited employers.
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Page 14 – Australian Pork Newspaper, January 2021
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Reports of workers being underpaid damages Aus- tralia’s reputation as a place of choice to live and work.
“I am angered by almost weekly media reports of workers having what can be a frightening experi- ence on Australian farms.
“We want you and others after you to have a positive experience on our farms – to do that we must work together to call out and weed out those standing in the way,” Ms Simson said.
“The actions of a very few inflict a stain on our industry that unfortu- nately threatens to tarnish
Antimicrobial stewardship pushes EU dairy farmers, China and fish farmers
THE impact of the World Health Organi- sation global program to reduce antimicrobial resistance and preserve antimicrobialdrugsfor future human and live- stock use is being felt all over the world.
Federation wrote, “The impact of decreased use of antimicrobials on human antimicrobial resistance following im- plementation of selec- tive dry cow treatment will be minimal.”
It seems China is catching the world leaders in antimicrobial control.
The issue of antimi- crobial resistance is not going away.
All beef or dairy firms in the FAIRR Index rank as high risk and fail to disclose information on antimicrobial usage.
Currently the pressure is on dairy farmers in Europe, but China and the world’s largest meat, fish and dairy producers are also in the news.
“Nevertheless, in a so- ciety which is critical of antimicrobial use in farm animals, there is a need to move toward standard use of selective dry cow treatment.”
According to a Swiss group that tracks the world’s antimicrobial consumption, the fig- ures suggest an unprec- edented decline.
In November 2020, new data published in the world’s only com- prehensive sustain- ability assessment of 60 of the world’s largest meat, fish and dairy producers – the Coller FAIRR Protein Pro- ducer Index, index/risk-opportunity- factors/antibiotics/ – found 70 percent or 42 firms rank as ‘high risk’ for antimicrobial stew- ardship.
Norwegian fish farmers Mowi, Cana- dian packaged proteins firm Maple Leaf Foods, a major pork producer, and an aquaculture firm Bakkafrost in the Faroe Islands are the top three performers in the FAIRR Index in 2020, and the only companies to rank as ‘low risk’ for investors.
From January 2022, due to changes in Eu- ropean Union regula- tions, the blanket use of antimicrobial dry cow therapy will no longer be the norm on EU dairy farms.
While the EU policy is mandated by legis- lation, Australian dairy farmers have been adopting selective dry cow therapy as part of good farming practice for years.
Previously, the most successful country was the Netherlands, which decreased its usage in livestock by 56 percent in the five years be- tween 2007 and 2012.
China did the same thing in four.
Ross Cutler
Instead of routine treatment for all cows at drying-off, selective dry cow treatment should be implemented.
It is a sensible policy, especially if it can re- duce a bit of antimicro- bial use with little or no adverse effect.
Indications for treat- ment include a clinical history of mastitis, sus- picion of intra-mam- mary infection by an individual cell count, a positive bacterial milk culture including isola- tion and preferably anti- microbial susceptibility testing, and individual cow or farm risk factors such as damaged teats.
China too has em- barked on a program of reducing antimicrobial usage in animals.
Those who have worked with cows will know the five-point mastitis control plan.
An article in Nature Outlook on October 21, 2020, using a data set from 2013, reported that China consumed nearly half the world’s anti- microbials – 162,000 tonnes, 52 percent of which was administered to animals.
Around the world for more than 50 years, dry cow antimicrobial therapy has been one of the five points.
A recent Ministry of Health of the People’s Republic of China bul- letin stated that con- sumption of antimicro- bials by China’s agricul- tural sector had fallen by 57 percent between 2014 and 2018 to less than 30,000 tonnes.
In a statement in 2019, the European Veterinary

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