Western Sydney powering Australia’s food supply

Western Sydney has emerged as a food and grocery manufacturing powerhouse, generating $17 billion in output per year and employing 24,400 workers, research released by the Australian Food and Grocery Council indicates.

The report shows that Parramatta is the food and grocery manufacturing capital of Sydney, employing 4,980 workers, followed by Blacktown – 4,176, Canterbury Bankstown – 3,914, Cumberland ­– 2,984, Liverpool – 2,154, Campbelltown – 2,113, Fairfield – 2,081, Penrith – 1,428 and Camden – 562.

Western Sydney exports $2.5b of food and grocery manufacturing products a year and sells a further $5.7b to interstate and domestic regional markets.

Between 2016 and 2017, international exports grew by 10.1 per cent.

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Australian Food and Grocery Council CEO, Tanya Barden, said Western Sydney’s current population of 2.1 million is expected to grow by a further 1m people over the next 18 years, and it is critical to ensure jobs are available in the same areas in which people lived.

“We are constantly being told that manufacturing in Australia is on its knees, but food and grocery manufacturing in Western Sydney is growing rapidly,” said Barden.

“Since 2011, a total of 1,200 new jobs have been created across Blacktown, Camden, Campbelltown, Canterbury-Bankstown, Cumberland, Fairfield and Penrith.

“Importantly, these jobs allow residents to live and work in their own neighbourhoods, rather than facing a long-haul commute into the city, which takes pressure off our public transport and road networks,” she said.

“Food and grocery manufacturing has the fifth largest output of all industries in Western Sydney, paying $138m per annum in tax.

“We should all be thankful of the critical role that food and grocery manufacturing plays in supporting our lifestyles by putting food on our tables, and delivering the highest quality hygiene and personal care products,” said Barden.

Key points in the report:

  • Wages – Wages and salaries pump $1.9b into the Western Sydney economy annually, worth an average $80,000 for every full-time and part- time worker.
  • Jobs – Western Sydney food and grocery manufacturing businesses employ 24,391 workers, making the sector the 11th largest jobs provider in Western Sydney.
  • Economics – The sector contributes $17.2b in annual output and more than $2.5 billion in international exports. Barden said Australians needed to be proud of their food manufacturing sector as a driver of jobs growth and a major contributor to the national economy, particularly with parts of the state battling drought conditions.

“Food and grocery manufacturing employers in Western Sydney range from major global companies like Campbell Arnott’s in Huntingwood and Kimberly Clark in Ingleburn, through to strong Australian brands like Coca Cola Amatil in Northmead and smaller mum and dad operations,” she said.

“All these operations are dedicated to ensuring the safety and highest quality of their products,” said Barden.