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Horticultural industry needs award answers from Gillard now.

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The Hon John Cobb MP Shadow Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry

The Horticulture industry, worth around $9 billion a year to the Australian economy has continually been snubbed by the Minister for Industrial Relations, Julia Gillard who still refuses to act on the legitimate concerns the industry has with her Award Modernisation process.

The Shadow Minister for Agriculture, John Cobb said the Minister for Industrial Relations, Julia Gillard must immediately respond to growers concerns that her Award Modernisation process due to come into force on the 1st of January, 2010 will send growers broke and put thousands of Australian’s out of work.

“There is absolutely nothing fair about putting employers out of business.

Mr Cobb said the Minister has been aware of the horticultural industries concerns with the award modernisation for months and has had plenty of time to respond.

“Labour makes up roughly fifty percent of a horticultural producers production costs and as price takers they have no ability to pass on increased labour costs.

“Whilst the Labor Party has told many fairy tales in its time in Government and may even believe that magic beans exchanged for a cow will grow over night, in the real world, farmers need to be able to plan for their crops months in advance.

“Growers are contacting me in tears extremely concerned about the financial stability of their enterprises should the Gillard Award Modernisation process come into force on the 1st of January, 2010.

“Ms Gillard has already acknowledged the concerns of the restaurant and caters probably because she has to use their services so often, but has refused to acknowledge the concerns of the productive seasonal industries like horticulture.

Mr Cobb said given Ms Gillard had already made special provisions and interceded on behalf of restaurants and caters she must now do the same for other industries which are also adversely affected by her award modernisation process