Food and grocery sector overlooked by Budget: AFGC
Australia’s leading representative of food and grocery manufacturers has hit out at this year’s Federal Budget for neglecting the sector despite applauding the $22 billion infrastructure spending.
Australian Food and Grocery Council (AFGC) Chief Executive Kate Carnell said the food and grocery industry – Australia’s largest manufacturing sector – would welcome the Budget’s significant investments in roads, ports and freight infrastructure across Australia.
“Infrastructure is fundamental for getting products from farm to factory to market, whether the market is in Australia or overseas,” Ms Carnell noted. “For Australian manufactured products to maintain their competitiveness a streamlined and cost-effective supply chain is vital and we commend the Government for their significant investment in roads, ports and freight infrastructure.”
Ms Carnell expressed deep concern about the lack of investment in Australia’s rural sector, however, as 90 per cent of the ingredients used in Australia’s manufactured food products are sourced from rural Australia.
“We had hoped to see a significant investment in water and its re-use, which is fundamental for farmers but also for efficient and competitive manufacturing in Australia,” she said. “Water is critical for food production and processing – no water, means no food for Australians.”
“AFGC is also extremely disappointed once again to see that Australia’s biggest manufacturing sector – food and grocery which is a $70 billion industry – was overlooked in this Budget,” Ms Carnell added.
“Last month, we urged the Government to develop and announce a National Food and Grocery Agenda to will sustain the industry’s long-term future, protect the health of Australians and ensure future growth and jobs.”
Ms Carnell said it was a frustrating that funding for a National Enforcement Agency to take responsibility for a single national approach to food labelling and contents was absent.
“This measure would have cut the cost of red tape to industry and potentially reduced the cost to consumers of Australian manufactured foods,” she explained.
Full details on the budget can be found at: www.budget.gov.au/