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Labor planning to address problems in manufacturing and food processing

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The federal government is planning to come up with an election policy to address difficulties in the manufacturing and food processing sectors.

According to the Australian Financial Review, Prime Minister Kevin Rudd and a group of Labor backbenchers in manufacturing seats are behind the move.

The group of up to 25 includes NSW Labor MP Stephen Jones from the south coast seat of Throsby an area which includes many jobs in the steel industry.

Following his ballot victory last week, Rudd mentioned manufacturing and food processing as key economic concerns. 

He echoed a statement he made back in 2006, when first elected as Labor leader and said that he “didn’t want to be a prime minister of a country that didn’t make things anymore.”

Then, in his first address to parliament on Thursday, Rudd said, "The time has come for us to adjust to the new challenges. New challenges in productivity; new challenges also in the diversification of our economy; new opportunities for what we do with ­processed foods and agriculture, in the services sector and also in manufacturing,"

The group of MPs met Manufacturing Australia to discuss the impact of high gas prices.

Manufacturing Australia is pushing for policies such as a national interest test for gas exports and reserving gas for domestic market use to be introduced.

In addition, MPs from regional seats are concerned about factory closures and job losses within the food processing sector.

The Australian Food and Grocery Council is concerned about the new food-labelling laws which were announced two weeks ago. It claims that they will cost the industry up to $200 million and plans to lobby the government in an attempt to change the laws.

Image: Stock Journal

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