Lockyer Valley agriculture.
Lockyer Valley agriculture. © iStockphoto.com/NightAndDayImages

Plan for food industry future

INVESTMENT in regional Australia rated only a passing mention in the Federal Government's National Food Plan green paper, released for comment on Tuesday.

The paper was the culmination of a wide-ranging consultation within the agriculture and food industries about the future of the sector.

More than 270 submissions were received.

Among the priority areas listed in the paper were cutting trade barriers, improving export and import services and pursuing free trade agreements to secure new markets for food exporters and consumers.

As the world continued to look for sustainable solutions to food supply, Agriculture Minister Joe Ludwig said the new plan was part of the government's intention to ensure it gets the policy right.

But the food plan said the government was already providing funds for regional development, some of which would help the regional food industry.

Among the changes not up for consideration were new trade barriers, such as import tariffs, or restrictions on food imports, except for food safety reasons.

Mr Ludwig said he wanted to hear from all areas along the food supply chain, with public consultation sessions planned around the nation.

We need to support Australia's farmers and processors to produce more food with fewer inputs," he said.

"We also need to help ensure these goods can move quickly and cost-effectively to market and make sure overseas market opportunities, like growing demand in Asia, are open to Australian businesses.

"The food plan will help us meet the needs of growing domestic demand, and seize the opportunities of increased global food demand, particularly in the Asia-Pacific region, by looking into existing policy and getting feedback on where improvements need to be made."Public sessions on the plan:

  • Rockhampton: Tuesday Aug 28, 7pm to 9pm
  • Brisbane: Wednesday Aug 29, 7pm to 9pm
  • Roma: Thursday Aug 30, 7pm to 9pm
  • Lismore: Wednesday Sept 5, 7pm to 9pm

Locations to be advised.

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