Victorian Government Food to Asia Action Plan welcomed by food manufacturers

Posted by AFN Staff Writers on 10th March 2014
The Victorian Government has released its Food to Asia Action Plan

The release of the Victorian Government’s Food to Asia Action Plan has been welcomed by food manufacturing representative body the Australian Food and Grocery Council (AFGC) as a “positive step to enhance competitiveness and growth in the domestic food processing sector”.

The AFGC congratulated Victorian Premier Dr Napthine for establishing the Food to Asia Action Plan, which outlines the Victorian Government’s commitment to a number of strategies to improve the performance of Victorian food companies seeking to export into Asian countries.

The Victorian Government’s plan is focussing on improved market access, efficient supply chains, support for research and development and innovation, reducing regulatory costs and increased capital investment. There are no absolute assurances of Government funding, but there may be some opportunities for Government support in product development and supporting capital investment.

“Food production and processing is one of the great strengths of the Victorian economy,” said Gary Dawon, AFGC CEO. “Processed food and grocery products generate over $6 billion in exports from Victoria and the industry directly employs almost 100,000 Victorians, with around half in regional and rural parts of the State,” he said.

The AFGC said the Victorian Government’s package of measures would help Victoria to “play to its competitive strengths” in international trade to enhance high value-add exports as well as commodities.

“Food and grocery processing sits at the intersection of agribusiness and advanced manufacturing, ideally placed to supply high quality, high value, premium food products into Asia,” Mr Dawson said.

The AFGC said improved market access into high value Asian markets was vital for the future of Australia’s food and grocery sector.

“The Action Plan’s focus on reducing tariff and technical barriers to trade, in concert with concluding Free Trade Agreements will provide benefits that will flow to a broad range of Australian food and grocery manufacturing companies, large and small,” Mr Dawson said.

The AFGC said the Victorian Government’s continued support for the Asia-Pacific Chocolate and Confectionery Centre of Excellence was an example of “its commitment to food manufacturing innovation” that will enhance industry competitiveness and bolster manufacturers’ capacity to take advantage of export opportunities, especially in Asia.

“The commitment to reduce regulatory burdens is particularly welcome,” Mr Dawson said. “Excessive regulation acts as a hand brake on the competitiveness of Australian food and beverage producers and processors,” he said.

“The Victorian Government commitment to regulatory reform is an acknowledgement that the regulation burden directly discourages innovation in food products, increases costs and ultimately impacts on exporters’ ability to compete on a global stage,” Mr Dawson said.