AFGC welcomes PM’s announcement on food manufacturing

The Australian Food and Grocery Council (AFGC) welcomes the Prime Minister’s announcement that confirms the importance of growing a strong, resilient and competitive food and beverage manufacturing sector in Australia.

The new Modern Manufacturing Strategy calls out the sector as one of the six National Manufacturing Priorities as part of the Government’s centre piece in the 2020-21 Federal Budget. This Strategy not only delivers much needed confidence to encourage investment but the almost $1.5 billion that goes with it for a Modern Manufacturing Initiative, Supply Chain Resilience Initiative and round two of the Manufacturing Modernisation Fund backs it up.

AFGC CEO Tanya Barden said that this is a huge boost to the confidence of the sector, which directly employs 247,000 Aussies and has room to grow.  We are keen to create a roadmap for the future of the sector, working with the Government to ensure that investment hits where it is needed, and roadblocks are removed.

“The Government’s Manufacturing Strategy makes the most of the food and beverage sector’s natural competitiveness, which arises from being able to source quality agricultural inputs and process them to global best safety and quality standards,” Barden said.

“What this investment by the Government demonstrates is that they know that our sector is one of huge potential to scale up, particularly in export markets, which account for one third of the sector’s revenues.  The Government also recognises how critical our sector is in providing everyday essentials and that while we’ve demonstrated resilience during COVID, we need to sure up and modernise that manufacturing capability in Australia.

“I am very pleased to hear the Government specifically call out that the Strategy was designed to back Australian manufacturers to become more competitive, resilient and able to scale.

“To achieve this requires the right policy settings to drive a step change in capital investment, which has been stagnant for a number of years because of a concentrated retail setting and rising input and regulatory costs.

“Today’s announcement will encourage companies to invest in Australia, to support jobs in local economies, particularly in rural and regional areas, and to take advantage of Australia’s supply of clean agricultural inputs and strong food safety system.

“The AFGC has continually highlighted to Government that food and beverage manufacturing is an industry that not only ensures that the supermarket shelves are stocked but creates jobs and significantly contributes to local and national economies.

“Australians and our political leaders overwhelmingly want a local, value-adding food and beverage manufacturing industry.  Today’s announcement is a strong acknowledgment that this sector will help get the economy back on track.”