National food policy a key given forecasts for population surge: Growcom

Posted by Editorial on 3rd February 2010

Horticulture organisation Growcom has again called for a national food security policy in light of the release of the 2010 Intergenerational Report, which predicts an increase in Australia’s population to more than 36 million by 2050.

Chief Executive Officer Alex Livingstone said that the Government’s response to problems outlined in the report had ignored a key requirement – that a larger population will need to be fed.

“There is no national plan in place to guarantee that arable land with suitable water and climatic requirements and adequate infrastructure will be available in the future to guarantee our food supply,” he noted.

Mr Livingstone said that the Government’s determination to put in place measures to lift productivity in order to grow the economy was admirable but ignored a key consideration of investing in infrastructure that would ensure the population had access to economical, fresh and healthy food supplies.

“It is ironic that the report mentions the Government’s commitment to investing in an improved hospital and health system while ignoring investment in the cheapest form of improving overall health of the population – access to a healthy diet,” he remarked.

“The report refers to the need for investment in key infrastructure. The Government’s commitment of $3.4 billion to the road network including the major freight route between Melbourne and Cairns is clearly admirable in securing the economic delivery of fresh food to high density population centres. However, the need for all weather roads throughout regional centres engaged in food production is also vital in delivering fresh food to markets.”