The Australian Food and Grocery Council (AFGC) has welcomed moves by the Federal Government to strengthen the nation’s domestic manufacturing capabilities and shore up supply for the future.
While the $122.1 billion food and grocery manufacturing sector remains Australia’s largest manufacturing sector, conditions have put businesses under pressure. The sector employs more than 273,300 Australians, representing almost 40 per cent of total manufacturing employment, and is also the lifeblood of many regional and rural communities, where 39.3 per cent of these jobs are based.
The AFGC welcomes the opportunity to work with the government to strengthen global supply chains as well as providing a strong and stable economic environment for domestic manufacturing to grow. This will increase jobs across our cities and regional communities, boosting local economies.
AFGC Acting CEO, Dr Geoffrey Annison, said that while the COVID-19 crisis had reinforced how strong and reliable Australia’s food and grocery supply chain was, all moves to strengthen and support the sector were welcome.
“Drought, bushfires, rising input prices, seven-years of consecutive supermarket price deflation and now COVID-19 have put significant pressure on the sector and the AFGC welcomes the opportunity to work with the government to determine ways the sector can remain a powerhouse and support increased domestic manufacturing,” Annison said.
“During this crisis our food and grocery manufacturers continue to work around the clock to ensure Australians have access to the essential products they need. This has meant ramping up operations to 24/7 to ensure products are making it to supermarket shelves.
“In Australia we are lucky because most of our food is grown and produced here. We produce enough food to feed 75 million people – enough to feed our entire population three times over. We have a very safe, reliable and efficient food supply chain.
“We need to make sure that it is optimised by taking a whole of food system approach – literally from paddock to plate – in a manner which secures key agricultural production of key inputs such as rice, honey and horticultural products for domestic food processors.”