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Abolition and replacement of the 457 visa – Government reforms to employer sponsored skilled migration visas

On 18 April 2017, the Government announced that the Temporary Work (Skilled) visa (subclass 457 visa) will be abolished and replaced with the completely new Temporary Skill Shortage (TSS) visa in March 2018.

The TSS visa programme will be comprised of a Short-Term stream of up to two years and a Medium-Term stream of up to four years and will support businesses in addressing genuine skill shortages in their workforce and will contain a number of safeguards which prioritise Australian workers.

This new visa is part of the Government’s significant reform package to strengthen the integrity and quality of Australia’s temporary and permanent employer sponsored skilled migration programmes.

Key reforms include:

  • Introducing the temporary skill shortage visa with new requirements, including but not limited to:
    • new, more targeted occupation lists which better align with skill needs in the Australian labour market
    • a requirement for visa applicants to have at least two years’ work experience in their skilled occupation
    • a minimum market salary rate which ensures that overseas workers cannot be engaged to undercut Australian workers
    • mandatory labour market testing, unless an international obligation applies,
    • capacity for only one onshore visa renewal under the Short-Term stream
    • capacity for visa renewal onshore and a permanent residence pathway after three years under the Medium-Term stream
    • the permanent residence eligibility period will be extended from two to three years
    • a non-discriminatory workforce test to ensure employers are not actively discriminating against Australian workers
    • strengthened requirement for employers to contribute to training Australian workers
    • the Department of Immigration and Border Protection will collect Tax File Numbers and data will be matched with the Australian Tax Office’s records, and
    • mandatory penal clearance certificates to be provided.
  • Tightening eligibility requirements for employer sponsored permanent skilled visas, including but not limited to:
    • tightened English language requirements
    • a requirement for visa applicants to have at least three years’ work experience
    • applicants must be under the maximum age requirement of 45 at the time of application
    • strengthened requirement for employers to contribute to training Australian workers, and
    • employers must pay the Australian market salary rate and meet the Temporary Skilled Migration Income Threshold1.
  • Concessions for regional Australia will continue to be available:
    • Employers in regional Australia will continue to have access to occupations under the temporary and permanent visas, to reflect their skills needs.
    • Existing permanent visa concessions for regional Australia, such as waiving the nomination fee and providing age exemptions for certain occupations, will be retained. Consideration will be given to expanding the occupations in regional Australia that are exempt from the age requirement.
  • Significantly condensing the occupation lists used for skilled migration visas, including the subclass 457 visa, from 19 April 2017.

The implementation of these reforms will begin immediately and will be completed in March 2018.

Further information on reforms is available:

Further information on different aspects of the reforms will be published in due course.

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2017 Sunshine Coast Export and Global Capability Program

Accelerate your export sales, increase profits and become the next Sunshine Coast export success story.

Who is the Program for?

  • Sunshine Coast businesses wanting help NOW with exporting a product or service.
  • Businesses should be export ready, currently exporting or be a successful exporter wanting to enter a new market.

What is the Program?

  • 10 two-and-a-half-hour workshops over 10 weeks.
  • It will be facilitated by the Export Council of Australia with guest export specialists.

When will the Program run?

  • From 19 April to 21 June 2017.

How much will the Program cost?

  • Usually $1,250 plus GST but local businesses in the Sunshine Coast Council area will only need to outlay $250 plus GST.
  • Two people can attend from any one company.

When do I have to register?

  • Places are limited to 20 companies in each program and registrations are required on or before 31 March 2017.

How do I to register?

More information

If you are interested in exporting and you are not already ‘connected’ through the Sunshine Coast Export LinkedIn Group, you are welcome to join.

What do others think about the program?

Watch this short video!

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12 Coast foodies get ready to excel

At FAN we have a vision – to actively contribute to the doubling of the region’s food & agribusiness economy by 2030 and to be renowned for our food culture and our culture of food industry innovation.  We also have a set of values that inform all that we do.  These values are collaboration, sharing, leadership & integrity.  So, when the Innovation Centre Sunshine Coast came to us with the idea of partnering in their Grow Coastal food accelerator progamme we embraced the concept whole heartedly.  The idea of helping producers interested in scaling up fast and bringing their new food and beverage innovations to market was the perfect fit!

With a $12,000 boost and one of the world’s leading food accelerator experts at their side, it’s no wonder these Sunshine Coast food and beverage entrepreneurs are grinning. From more than sixty applications across the Coast, the lucky 12 were chosen for their innovative ideas, scalability and commercial viability.

International food industry expert Tara Mei is delivering the program bringing a great deal of expertise as founder of Kitchen Table Projects of London, having supported the growth of over 500 food and beverage businesses from startup to scale up.

“Demand for quality, innovative food products is growing faster than ever before and there is an opportunity for local businesses to capture that market,” she said.

“The participants are going to be thrown ‘in the pan’ so to speak as we explore crowdfunding, conduct research, host tastings, navigate publicity, engage with industry leaders, secure new customers and build major networks of helpful connections.”

 Congratulations to the Grow Coastal team:

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Get involved in Future Careers Expo

A call out for food and agribusiness sector to get involved in the Future Careers Plus Expo to be held on 23 May at Lake Kawana Community Centre.  We are looking for about five local companies to take a booth each to profile their company and industry opportunities/trends. Hands on practical experiences or new technology that will engage these students rather than brochures and videos will be given preference.

The event will welcome approximately 1500 high school students and showcase future job opportunities and career pathways.

We are seeking to identify some cool things to touch, feel, try out, not just new technology.  Experiments showcasing product development and process would be of interest too.

For more information please contact Angela Quain at Sunshine Coast Council.

[email protected]

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Commercial kitchen available for rent or purchase

Fully licensed commercial kitchen available for rent or purchase

The kitchen is currently tenanted with a food manufacturing business that focuses on nutrient dense traditional foods.  There is an opportunity to rent or buy the business and or equipment and space.  The kitchen is in a central location with shop front and ample parking. It has:

  • 3 phase power
  • Cold room
  • Large 4 door Freezer
  •  Office space and bathroom
  • Catering equipment
  • Large 3m x 1.2m stainless bench
  • Water filtration and water storage

For more information please call Tanya Bayliss on 0415 575 507 or [email protected].

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FAN Chairman finalist for women’s award

MEDIA RELEASE

4 March 2017

Here’s a trick question – how can the Chairman of the Food and Agribusiness Network (FAN) become a Queensland finalist in the RIRDC Rural Women’s Award 2017?

Easy answer – the Chairman is a woman.

Jacqui Wilson-Smith is a Sunshine Coast business achiever whose award nomination is based on her idea of creating an online training platform for food and agribusinesses.

Jacqui is a passionate innovator which will be reflected in the pilot topic for training: “Design Thinking as an Innovation Strategy for Primary Industries”.

According to Jacqui, the learning platform will enable the creation of virtual communities where rural businesses can collaborate, learn how to speed up the pace of innovation, reduce risks and create business growth.

“The online content will be delivered in fun, engaging, digestible and extremely practical ways using multi-media such as short video documentaries, e-books, animations, podcasts, webinars, workshops and quizzes,” says Jacqui.

About Jacqui

Jacqui grew up on properties in the Sunshine Coast hinterland, where she learnt to milk a cow, crack a whip and even rode a horse to school!

She was captain of Pomona State School before heading to boarding school in Brisbane.

After uni, she worked for Buderim Ginger before moving to the UK. On return she was determined to centre her career on the Sunshine Coast.

Jacqui has 20 years’ experience in innovation and marketing with agribusinesses.

Jacqui’s leadership in local herb and spice company Gourmet Garden has seen her influence its success through her role as Head of Innovation & Marketing. Following McCormick’s acquisition of Gourmet Garden in early 2016, Jacqui was promoted to Global Innovation Manager for McCormick. She sees her role at FAN as a way of giving back and actively contributing to doubling the region’s food & agribusiness economy by 2030.

Jacqui’s output is impressive and her achievements many:

  • March 2017 FIAL Food Innovation Australia panel judge
  • Dec 2016 Appointed Global Innovation manager, McCormick
  • Oct 2016 Appointed Chairman, FAN
  • Sept 2016 GAICD, Graduate Company Director Course
  • Dec 2015 Launched FAN, co-founding board member, company secretary
  • Aug 2015 Guest Speaker, Disruptive Innovation Industry Forum, Sydney
  • March 2014 Launched Gourmet Garden’s Lightly Dried range
  • Oct 2012 Launched digital platform What2Cook.com, meal planning site
  • Sept 2010 Published first collaborative 4 Ingredients & Gourmet Garden cookbook with local author, Kim McCosker
  • Sept 2009 Appointed Head of Marketing & Innovation at Gourmet Garden

Design Thinking

In her role with FAN, Jacqui observed that due to pressing business matters it’s common for FAN members to focus on the short term, rather than dedicating time to understanding their customers and resetting their vision for innovation.

“Design Thinking is an iterative process that can be learnt,” says Jacqui, “By empathising with customers to gain insights, businesses can rapidly prototype, fail fast and ultimately innovate successfully”.

Jacqui has a track record of successful innovations in agribusiness and is keen to share her Design Thinking skills.

About the Food and Agribusiness Network (FAN)

FAN is a membership-based, not-for-profit company, established to support food and agribusinesses across the entire value chain within the Greater Sunshine Coast region. Agribusiness is one of seven high value industries identified in the Sunshine Coast Council’s regional economic development strategy. FAN’s vision is to actively contribute to doubling the region’s food and agribusiness economy by 2030 and for the region to be renowned for its food culture and innovation.

FAN believes in knowledge sharing and creates opportunities for its 140 members to connect, learn, promote and grow their businesses.

Interview opportunities

Jacqui is a charismatic and passionate speaker and is available for interviews this weekend via phone or at her property in Eerwah Vale.

Media contact: Casey Macneil, Macneil & Co. marketing and design 0402 993 688 [email protected]

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Food and Beverage Trade Mission to China – May 2017

Calling All Sunshine Coast Food & Beverage Exporters!

Date Claimer:  May 2-11, 2017
Destination:  Shanghai & Hong Kong
Key Event:  HOFEX 2017 – The largest food & hospitality tradeshow in Asia.
Priority Sector:  Food and Beverage
Supported by: Sunshine Coast Council and Trade & Investment Queensland

This export trade mission provides regional exporters the opportunity to travel to Shanghai in Mainland China where they will participate in a series of market briefings, site visits, meeting programs, a product showcase and networking event, in addition to potential opportunities for business matching and private appointments. 

Delegates then have the option to showcase their Premium, Fresh and Organic Food and Beverages at HOFEX 2017 – Asia’s Leading Food & Hospitality Tradeshow in Hong Kong at the Queensland pavilion organised by Trade and Invest Queensland. (EOI_registration_Food Trade Mission to HOFEX, HK & Taiwan)

 Participation in this trade mission will provide Sunshine Coast exporters the opportunity to:

  • Hear from and connect with experts in the Food Service and Hospitality industries in Shanghai
  • Attend site visits at some of China’s most prominent businesses
  • Gain a better understanding of distribution logistics and supply chain for e-commerce in China
  • Attend presentations and roundtable discussions designed to give delegates a unique and valuable insight into the Chinese market
  • Gain a valuable network to assist delegates business in China.

 To register your interest and further details please email: [email protected]

 

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New Food Accelerator Program launched on the Sunshine Coast

Calling all food entrepreneurs, applications are now open for a new Food Accelerator Program, a game changer for our food and agribusiness industry!

FAN is excited to be partnering with the Innovation Centre Sunshine Coast (IC) to support the delivery of the Grow Coastal Program– which has been made possible by a two-year funding agreement from the Queensland Government’s Advance Queensland initiative.

Featuring a bootcamp and three-month food accelerator program, Grow Coastal will find, fund and accelerate 12 ambitious food-related businesses in the region (includes Sunshine Coast, Noosa, Moreton Bay and Gympie).

Whether you’ve got a great idea that needs to get off the ground or you’re already trading and looking to scale up, this program can help steer your venture in the right direction with tried and tested, industry-specific tools, resources and international connections.

This is a competitive program, providing more than $12,000 in direct value to the successful applicants. The registration cost per participant or team is $600.00 and all teams that reach week eight will receive $1,200 in seed funding.

Tara Mei, founder of Kitchen Table Projects, will be delivering the Grow Coastal Program. Since launching London’s first retail incubator in June 2015, Tara has supported over 500 food and drink brands from start-ups to scale-ups and she has a strong worldwide network of industry experts, food producers, distributors and buyers.

Key dates
Applications close: 27 Feb
Food Innovation Bootcamp: 11 March
Accelerator Program: 15 March – 14 June

Find out more about this groundbreaking opportunity at: www.innovationcentre.com.au/programs/growcoastal

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Maleny Food Co. Named as a Finalist in the 2017 Australian Grand Dairy Awards

maleny-food-co-logo

Maleny Food Co. is excited to announce its Chocolate Gelato has been nominated as a 2017 Australian Grand Dairy Award finalist in the Dairy Gelato category.

“As a new brand, this recognition acknowledges that we are doing all the right things, and we could not be more excited and honoured to be named a finalist,” said Norman Scott.

The brand has recently transitioned from Colin James Fine Foods to Maleny Food Co. after current owners Norman and Kate Scott purchased the business in 2015. Colin James Fine Foods was well know for its award winning gelato and this recent nomination is confirmation Maleny Food Co. is carrying on the reputation of the Colin James Fine Foods brand.

“Although we have moved away from the Colin James Fine Foods brand, being named a finalist for such a prestigious award is evidence we are still making award-winning produce, and we couldn’t be more proud,” said Mr Scott.

The Australian Grand Dairy Awards were established to recognise excellence in the industry, and to highlight the high calibre of dairy foods produced in Australia.

To be eligible, products must have won a gold medal at a state based championship, and this year our Maleny Food Co. Chocolate Gelato was one of a record 470 gold medal award winning entries.

The top three products in each class are named as finalists and each finalist product will be judged by 12 industry judges. The winners in each of the 20 categories will be announced in February 2017, and we look forward to hearing the results.

mfc-image

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FAN Launches New Program

FAN has created the Mentoring for Success program to assist small FAN member companies to address a challenge or opportunity within their businesses, by providing access to experienced and skilled mentors.

Eligibility

  • Must be a member of FAN
  • Turnover under $1.5 million
  • Participants need to be prepared to provide information about their business such as financials, business plan, key challenges, value proposition etc.

Find out more at FAN Mentoring for Success Program.