Spotlight on Australia’s Regions this week in Melbourne

Posted by Josette Dunn on 20th September 2010

The national debate on the economic and environmental importance of regional Australia will be at the forefront as AgriFood Skills Australia puts skills, workforce and productivity challenges under focus at its one dayAustralia’s Regions: Australias Future conference in Melbourne this week. AgriFood works with employers and community leaders in the regions to find solutions to address high level skills shortages, and in attracting and retaining workers and families to the regions.AgriFood CEO, Arthur Blewitt says the Conference, on Thursday 23 September, will attract about 200 leading industry, education, research and government representatives on topics that are critical to regional Australia’s sustainability and growth, and which are the core of the company’s work:

“We work closely with employers and the community to find ways to attract, develop and retain people to enhance productivity, profitability and regional development. There are workforce needs and training implications which need to be addressed as the recent study by the Australian Farm Institute (and jointly funded by Horticulture Australia Ltd and AgriFood Skills) reveals significant worker shortages. This study reinforced the theme of AgriFood’s recent publication of the 2010 Environmental Scan: A perfect storm of shortages…are we ready?”

The AgriFood 2010 Conference will focus on the economy, employment, training and workplace capacity as well as examples of innovation and success in the agrifood industry with presentations by Hagen Stehr, the Founding Director of Clean Seas Tuna Ltd of Port Lincoln, John Foss, the Founder and Managing Director of The Chia Company, and Michael Creed, agribusiness economist at the National Australia Bank.

AgriFood will continue its focus on strategic issues that impact on attracting and retaining skilled staff in the regions. Its involvement has led to innovative strategies for industry and enterprises to become ‘employers of choice’ by designing jobs and careers that are attractive to young people and existing workers. AgriFood also works in partnership with the Sheep Cooperative Research Centre (Sheep CRC) on adoption and extension of research outcomes.

AgriFood represents the food processing and pharmaceuticals, rural and related, meat, seafood and racing industries. These five sectors employ more than 880,000 Australians and generate more than $200 billion a year for the national economy.

A full conference program is available at