Peak lobby group, the Australian Food and Grocery Council (AFGC) has welcomed the release of the Victorian Government’s Food to Asia Action Plan.
The plan focuses on improved market access, efficient supply chains, support for R&D and innovation, a reduction in regulatory costs and increased capital investment.
The AFCG says that the plan is a positive step towards enhancing competitiveness and growth within the domestic food processing sector.
“Food production and processing is one of the great strengths of the Victorian economy,” said AFGC CEO Gary Dawson. “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.”
Dawson congratulated Victorian Premier, Dr Denis Napthine on developing the plan, stating that the package will help the state ‘play to its competitive strengths’ in the international marketplace and will as reduce ‘regulatory burdens’.
“Improved market access into high value Asian markets is 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,” said Dawson.
“Excessive regulation acts as a hand brake on the competitiveness of Australian food and beverage producers and processors. The Victorian Government’s commitment to regulatory reform is an acknowledgment that the regulation burden directly discourages innovation in food products, increases costs and ultimately impacts on exporters’ ability to compete on a global stage.”
Dawson’s comments come just after the Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics and Sciences (ABARES) announced that agricultural exports to China have doubled in five years to represent $7.3b in 2013.