A new agriculture visa, that promised to bring thousands of workers from Southeast Asian countries onto Australian farms by Christmas, has been marred by delays. The new document was ready to be rolled out in October, but more than four months on, not a single country has signed on.
Agriculture Minister David Littleproud said progress of the visa, announced last June, now rests with Foreign Minister Marise Payne. He stated: "I'm totally frustrated, as are Australian farmers. We put this in place on the 1st of October. All we're waiting on now is Marise Payne to complete the bilaterals."
The government had said the scheme would be offered to the 10 member nations of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), which include Thailand, Cambodia, Brunei, Myanmar, Philippines, Malaysia, Laos, Vietnam, Singapore, and Indonesia. The government is currently in negotiation with four countries. So far, Indonesia has signed a memorandum of understanding, but the status of the other three countries remains unknown.