The partnership, called the Rural Safety and Health Alliance, will invest in practical extension solutions informed by industry input on work, health and safety risks.
Key features of the alliance include setting clear priorities to better target research, development and extension, strengthening industry leadership and developing a ‘shark tank’ funding model, where applicants work together to pitch projects for funding.
AgriFutures Australia Senior Manager, Business Development Jennifer Medway said there is an enormous social, emotional and economic toll to workplace death and injury so the Alliance is focused on giving farmers and fishers the tools to create safer working environments for themselves, their workers and their families.
“Our RDC decided to support this initiative because work health and safety is a hugely important issue for our industry. We need to improve the industry’s track record and leadership in farm safety and we are keen to support projects that will provide practical and effective solutions.
“We know there are so many great opportunities in Australia’s rural industries and that we are currently experiencing a skills shortage, so we cannot let the industry’s work health and safety record be the reason why we don’t see more people coming in to our industry.
“Many other industries have shown a positive association between improved work health and safety and better business outcomes, like productivity, staff retention, and quality. We see a significant positive upside to improving health and safety as well as reducing negative outcomes,” said Ms Medway.