The recommendations were made following an inquiry into amendments to the laws in a Bill drafted by the Greens party in 2012.
According to Australian Made Campaign Chief Executive Ian Harrison, the recommendations, if implemented will make it easier for consumers to identify genuine Aussie products and build greater confidence back into Australia’s food labelling system.
Key recommendations of the Senate Committee:
- The Bill as drafted should not be passed
- The Government should consider developing a more effective country of origin (CoOL) framework (including a more effective definition of 'substantially transformed'), which better balances the interests of consumers, primary producers and manufacturers
- The Government should consider creating a ‘negative list’ for processes that do not satisfy the ‘substantial transformation’ test
- The Government should develop a public education campaign for new CoOL guidelines
At the hearing for the inquiry in February this year, Australian Made rejected the proposed Bill as providing an acceptable alternative to the system in place, called for the definition of ‘substantial transformation’ to be restricted, and encouraged the use of a ‘negative list’ for processes that do not satisfy the ‘substantial transformation’ test (putting Australian Consumer Law on par with the rules for using the Australian Made, Australian Grown [AMAG] logo).
Australian Made hopes that the Government will act on these recommendations swiftly, making it more difficult for products with high imported content and minimal local processing to pass themselves off as Australian.
Mr Harrison added that in the meantime, consumers should look for the green-and-gold AMAG logo when they shop to be sure they are buying genuine Aussie products and produce.