Department of Industry, Innovation, Climate Change, Science, Research and Tertiary Education

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Boosting agri-skills in regional Australia 

13 Mar 2013

Joint media release with the Parliamentary Secretary for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry, the Hon Sid Sidebottom MP.

The Minister for Tertiary Education, Skills, Science and Research, Chris Bowen MP, and the Parliamentary Secretary for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry, Sid Sidebottom MP, today announced $4 million in funding for a workforce development program to enable regional workers to boost their agri-skills.

Mr Bowen and Mr Sidebottom today launched the AgriFood National Regional Initiative, which will drive local skills development in Loddon Mallee in Victoria, Western Downs in Queensland, Warren Blackwood in Western Australia and the Eyre Peninsula in South Australia.

"This initiative is a great example of the Government working in partnership with industry to support skills and training in regional Australia," Mr Bowen said.

"We want to encourage local employers to develop the skills of local workers through in-depth training and best practice workforce development.

"Regional communities will benefit from being able to attract workers and retain skilled employees, increasing local business activity."

Mr Sidebottom said the four projects will make a real difference to local regional communities.

"Australia's agriculture sector needs to continually up-skill its workforce in order to increase productivity," Mr Sidebottom said.

"The Government is committed to regional communities and will work closely with AgriFood Skills Australia to make a difference in regional Australia."

The projects are based on a successful program run in Narrabri, New South Wales, and the participating communities will each hold a jobs summit to identify key issues and the best way forward.

Funding for the initiative comes from the Government's $667 million National Workforce Development Fund, which has already funded 28 projects worth $7.8 million managed by AgriFood Skills Australia.

Media contacts: Mr Bowen's office 02 6277 7580
                          Mr Sidebottom's office 03 6431 1333

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