The upcoming federal budget is an opportunity to back advanced food and grocery manufacturing capacity in Australia and reverse a long trend of losing vital capabilities offshore, says Australian Food and Grocery Council (AFGC) CEO Tanya Barden.
In its submission to the 2022-23 Federal Budget the AFGC urges the government to enhance the impact of its Modern Manufacturing Strategy with targeted incentives that support investment in new product development, sustainable packaging, advanced manufacturing and digital technologies.
“Food and grocery is the largest manufacturing sector in the nation, worth almost $133 billion and employing more than 270,000 people,” Ms Barden says.
“This sector was named as one of the six critical manufacturing capabilities for our nation because it has potential to deliver long-term, transformational change in the Australian economy.”
The AFGC’s 2022-23 Pre-Budget Submission outlines a series of policy recommendations that aim to enhance the competitiveness and resilience of local food and grocery manufacturing.
• Concessional tax incentives for firms seeking to invest in and create jobs and onshore manufacturing capabilities in Australia
• Increased co-investment grants within the Translation and Integration streams of the Modern Manufacturing Strategy to support investment in modern manufacturing and digital technologies
• Provision of grant funding to help set up advanced recycling plants to create food-grade soft plastic packaging with post-consumer recycled content for local food and grocery manufacturers.
Supercharging Australia’s capabilities
Ms Barden says the understanding of manufacturing needed to evolve to encompass advanced processes.
“We need to supercharge our sovereign food and grocery production capabilities with measures that support firms to invest, create jobs and develop advanced manufacturing in Australia,” she says.
“Australia has the opportunity, with the right measures, to reverse a long trend of offshoring and create onshore the advanced manufacturing capabilities that are going to be essential to thrive in regional and global markets.”