Wiley has welcomed the incoming Abbott Ministry’s focus on initiatives to support agriculture and food manufacturing.
Congratulating all the new Ministers on their appointment, in particular those relevant to the food manufacturing sector – Agriculture Minister Barnaby Joyce, Industry Minister Ian McFarlane and Trade and Investment Minister Andrew Robb, Wiley Managing Director, Tom Wiley said he found his own thoughts on these issues echoed in AFGC CEO, Gary Dawson’s welcome statement to the new ministry.
In the AFGC’s statement released earlier today, Mr Dawson said food and grocery manufacturing is Australia’s largest manufacturing sector, directly employing around 300,000 people and having an annual turnover of $110 billion. The lifeblood of many regional economies, with numerous major food processing plants located outside the metropolitan areas, this sector accounts for half the total industry employment in regional Australia.
However, the food manufacturing industry is facing massive challenges from high costs, the high Australian dollar and retail price deflation squeezing profitability. Key food processing capabilities are at risk of being lost altogether, with the flow on loss of jobs and opportunities extending into the farm supply base.
Mr Dawson confirmed AFGC’s support for priorities including the finalisation of stalled Free Trade Agreement talks, a rollback of costly unnecessary regulation, action to reduce energy costs, a tax reform white paper and a review of competition laws to help level the playing field. He added that the industry has massive growth potential for the future provided competitiveness and productivity can be boosted, and market access opened up in the growing economies of Asia.
Mr Wiley concluded by saying that they are keen to work with the new Ministry, the AFGC, and regional industry groups such as the Toowoomba Surat Basin Enterprise group (TSBE) to empower the food manufacturing sector to drive economic reform and growth.