Budget’s infrastructure boost welcomed by industry

For Australian manufactured products to maintain their competitiveness, a streamlined and cost-effective supply chain is vital, the Australian Food and Grocery Council says, following the release of the Federal Budget yesterday.

The Federal Government’s $22 billion Nation Building Infrastructure spending is a welcomed boost to the nation’s food industry, according to Australia’s leading organisation representing food and grocery manufacturers the Australian Food and Grocery Council (AFGC).

AFGC Chief Executive Kate Carnell said the food and grocery industry — Australia’s largest manufacturing sector — applauded the Budget’s significant investments in roads, ports and freight infrastructure across Australia.

“Infrastructure is fundamental for getting products from farm to factory to market, whether the market is in Australia or overseas,” Ms Carnell said.

“For Australian manufactured products to maintain their competitiveness a streamlined and cost-effective supply chain is vital and we commend the Government for their significant investment in roads, ports and freight infrastructure.”

But Ms Carnell expressed deep concern about the lack of investment in Australia’s rural sector as 90 per cent of the ingredients used in Australia’s manufactured food products are sourced from rural Australia.

“We had hoped to see a significant investment in water and its re-use, which is fundamental for farmers but also for efficient and competitive manufacturing in Australia,” Ms Carnell said.

“AFGC is also extremely disappointed once again to see that Australia’s biggest manufacturing sector — food and grocery which is a $70 billion industry — was overlooked in this Budget.

“Last month, we urged the Government to develop and announce a National Food and Grocery Agenda to will sustain the industry’s long-term future, protect the health of Australians and ensure future growth and jobs.”

Ms Carnell said it was a frustrating that funding for a National Enforcement Agency to take responsibility for a single national approach to food labelling and contents was absent.

“This measure would have cut the cost of red tape to industry and potentially reduced the cost to consumers of Australian manufactured foods,” Ms Carnell said.

Ms Carnell expressed disappointment that was not more investment in water use and reuse particularly in the agriculture sector.

“Water is critical for food production and processing – no water, means no food for Australians,” Ms Carnell said.

Ms Carnell hoped that the Government’s jobs package was geared towards protecting and creating more jobs in Australia’s food manufacturing sector.

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