The Gillard government yesterday announced a range of measures to bolster the strength of Australia's manufacturing industry, and food manufacturing was not forgotten.
In addition to a Manufacturing Leaders Group aimed at seizing the opportunities of the Asian century, the government agreed that the first funding rounf of the $236 million Industrial Transformation Research Program (ITRP) will focus on food research.
A statement issued by Greg Combet, minister for Industry and Innovation, read "The ITRP is designed to develop partnerships between firms and researchers to boost the competitive edge of Australian industry."
It added, "Food processing is a key area area of opportunity as the rise of a large Asian middle class will lift demand for high quality food products."
Yesterday's announcements follow other recent steps including:
- Establishing a new Anti-Dumping Commission with increased powers and resources to provide "a fair go" for Australian manufacturers and farmers.
- Support for innovative manufacturing through the $240 million 16th Cooperative Research Centres selection round, which will open for applications in February 2013. At least $50 million from this funding round will support the development and application of new technologies to support growth and competitiveness in Australian manufacturing.
- Provision of more than $38 million in Clean Technology Grants for food processors to improve energy efficiency, reduce costs and improve productivity.
- Establishing a Centre for Workplace Leadership to encourage higher performing workplaces and stronger leadership capability to boost productivity
Early next year the government will release an Industry and Innovation Statement setting out a long term agenda for maximising opportunities from the Asian Century, strengthening Australian industries and creating local jobs.