Finalising free trade discussions, cutting red tape and reducing energy costs are at the top of the list of priorities food manufacturers hope the new Abbott Ministry will commit to.
With the new Ministry to be sworn in today, the Australian Food and Grocery Council (AFGC) has welcomed the new government's focus on growth, trade and regulatory reform.
AFGC CEO Gary Dawson congratulated all new minister, especially those working more closely with food and beverage manufacturers, including Industry minister Ian McFarlane, Trade and Investment minister Andrew Robb, Small Business minister Bruce Billson, Agriculture minister Barnaby Joyce and Assistant Treasurer Arthur Sinodinos.
Dawson said manufacturers are hoping the government will offer certainty and stability and will focus on boosting confidence, investment and jobs by "getting the policy settings right."
"To that end we strongly support priorities including the finalisation of stalled Free Trade Agreement talks, a rollback of costly unnecessary regulation, action to reduce energy costs, a tax reform white paper and a review of competition laws to help level the playing field where there is an imbalance in market power," he said.
"Food and grocery manufacturing is Australia’s largest manufacturing sector, directly employing around 300,000 people and with annual turnover of $110 billion. It is the lifeblood of many regional economies, with numerous major food processing plants located outside the metropolitan areas, and makes up half the total industry employment in regional Australia."
Dawson said the manufacturing and agricultural sectors has struggled of late, with the high Australian dollar, retail price deflation and high costs all being significant burdens.
"It is also an industry with massive growth potential for the future provided we can boost competitiveness and productivity, and open up market access in the growing economies of Asia," he added.
"AFGC looks forward to working with these experienced ministers in establishing a coordinated and disciplined approach to policy making, to ensure a competitive Australian food and grocery manufacturing sector."