Coalition's manufacturing policy 'positive step' for food sector
The Australian Food and Grocery Council (AFGC) has welcomed the release of the coalition's Manufacturing Policy as a positive step to enhance the competitiveness of the domestic food and grocery manufacturing sector.
Gary Dawson, AFGC CEO said the Australia's food, beverage and grocery manufacturing sector, worth $110 billion, will benefit from a serious effort by government to boost productivity, reinvigorate regulatory reform and encourage investment for innovation and R&D.
"The coalition's focus on attracting investment, removing unnecessary regulation and listening to industry views on building a competitive sector is very welcome," Dawson said.
"The best thing a future government can do is rebuild confidence to invest by providing a more stable and certain environment.
"To that end the commitments from the coalition on improving incentives for investment and R&D, seeking industry leadership to develop Strategic Growth Action Agendas and pushing back on costly and unnecessary regulation are all positive steps.
"The food and grocery manufacturing sector is vital for Australia's food security and for the economic viability of many regional communities. It is also fundamental to a strong diversified economy, employing almost 300,000 Australians directly and representing more than a quarter of the manufacturing sector.
Dawson said the food manufacturing sector was under "extreme pressure" at present due to "rising costs, retail price inflation and a high Australian dollar", with jobs and production at risk of being sent offshore.
"Our goal must be to build an export-competitive advanced manufacturing sector that can benefit from the growing export markets in Asia," he said.
"Foreign investment is critical to realising this aim, as is a greater focus on value-adding in Australia and on the inclusion of processed foods in trade negotiations.
Dawson praised the coalition's new policy which he said addressed these elements.
"Should the coalition be elected, we will be vigilant in holding it accountable for delivering on its commitment particularly in regards to regulatory reform, investment incentives and trade and investment promotion," he said.
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