Calls for nationally consistent food regulation

Posted by Daniel Palmer on 17th September 2008

The Australian Food and Grocery Council has welcomed the release of the Productivity Commission’s Annual Review of Regulatory Burdens on Business: Manufacturing and Distributive Trades.

“Australia’s $70 billion packaged food and grocery industry has long been arguing for a more streamlined approach to food regulation,” AFGC Chief Executive, Kate Carnell, said.

The report found food regulation could be made less burdensome by:

  • “Increasing national consistency of regulation
  • Improving timeliness and transparency of decision making by the Australia New Zealand Food Regulation Ministerial Council
  • Ensuring public health issues are considered by the Health Ministers’ Conference before referring any food regulation-related issues to the Australia New Zealand Food Regulation Ministerial Council.”

The stress on small business has been furthered by inadequate communication with regulators, according to the Productivity Commission. “Poor communication can also be a barrier to small businesses entering the markets as they may be less able either to employ or to contact expert assistance to understand the regulations affecting them,” the report stated.

“If the government is truly serious about the simplification of its regulatory regime then its first step should be to adopt of the Productivity Commission’s recommendations,” Ms Carnell concluded.