The Australian Food and Grocery Council (AFGC) has announced its support of a $100 million co-investment from Coca-Cola Amatil and the Victorian to fruit processor SPC Ardmona, but says the investment needs to be followed by regulatory reform.
On 13 February, Coca-Cola Amatil (CCA) confirmed it will invest $78 million into SPC Ardmona and welcomed the decision by the Victorian government to invest $22 million over three years.
This followed the federal government’s rejection of SPCA’s plea for a $25m co-investment as part of a restructure plan to keep the company afloat.
AFGC CEO Gary Dawson said the SPCA situation should be a wakeup call to governments considering new regulatory cost imposts.
“From a broader industry perspective the challenge remains to get the settings right to kick-start the massive investment and re-investment needed if we are to capitalise on the unprecedented food export opportunities into Asia. The imperative is growth and the investment needed to drive productivity and competitiveness gains,” he said.
Dawson said food manufacturing should be seen as an industry which can deliver comparative advantage for Australia moving forward, delivering jobs and growth, and shouldn’t be burdened by additional regulatory costs.
“Any additional regulation that adds costs for business or consumers runs the risk of impeding vital investment and job creation.
"We call on all governments in Australia to reject any new regulation that adds costs to the manufacturing industry and to move quickly to remove existing unnecessary regulatory costs,” he said.