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Federal budget jobs and skills focus captures potential in Australian food and grocery manufacturing

The Australian Food and Grocery Council has applauded the Australian Government’s focus on creating jobs and supporting skills development to power the nation’s economic recovery in the 2021-2022 Federal Budget.

The AFGC represents Australia’s food and grocery manufacturers, who together employ the nation’s largest manufacturing workforce and, with the right policy settings, have a major role to play in boosting the economy and capitalising on emerging growth opportunities.

AFGC CEO Tanya Barden said the government’s moves to support jobs growth are an opportunity to direct funding into areas where investment is urgently needed.

Policies that support investment in new skills and capital equipment in Australian food and grocery manufacturing have the potential to bring about a structural reinvigoration of the industry and position it to be a powerhouse for innovation, employment and export growth.

“I am pleased to see a budget tonight that backs business growth with an extension of the temporary full expensing (instant asset write-off) for a year, however we ask that the Government continues to look at expanding this further so that businesses with long-held assets in Australia can access this incentive.

“Business wants to expand and create more opportunities for Australians and this measure has already proven that it can,” said Barden.

“We are also pleased to see the commitment to skills through the Digital Economy Strategy which focuses on the skills for the future including Artificial Intelligence, as called for by AFGC.

Skills such as robotics, virtual reality, 3D printing, AI and predictive analytics are all advanced skills that we need to match our growing capabilities. We welcome the digital strategy that will help to build these skills in Australia.

“Other measures including extension of the JobTrainer program and Boosting Apprenticeships will also support the skills growth that our industry needs to continue to grow, innovate and reach into new export markets,” said Barden.

The AFGC had urged the government to fund a skills audit to understand the gap between the industry’s current skills capabilities and those that will be needed in the automated and digitalised food and grocery manufacturing industry of the future.

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