The Australian Food and Grocery Council (AFGC) has welcomed the strong endorsement from the Business Council of Australia (BCA) of the important role of food and agribusiness as drivers of Australia’s future economic growth.

AFGC CEO Gary Dawson said the BCA Report on the Agrifood Sector released today highlighted the potential for growth based on Australia’s existing comparative advantage combined with rising demand for premium quality, safe food from Australia’s major trading partners.

“The BCA report is a welcome contribution to the debate about Australia’s economic future. It rightly highlights the need for a shift in thinking about the Agrifood sector from simply exporting our surplus production of agricultural commodities to understanding and catering to the demand for premium value added food from middle class consumers in export markets,” said Mr Dawson.

“The food boom is not just another commodity boom because food is a value added product. By focusing on the value add in food production we capture more of the economic benefits, and that means jobs and growth in Australia, with much of the benefit flowing to regional Australia.

“Increasing investment, both domestic and foreign, is critical to achieving the potential of the Agrifood sector. As is addressing the high cost structures that are a drag on the competitiveness of Australia food producers.

“The 28% surge in processed food and beverage exports from Australia in 2014-15 is a sign of improving competitiveness but high costs remain a threat to the growth of the food and grocery sector.

“Based on ABS business investment data released last week the AFGC estimates that investment in food manufacturing in Australia is currently around $600m per annum below the historical trend line.

“Lifting this investment is critical if Australia is to seize the export opportunities from rising global food demand,” said Mr Dawson.



AFGC Media Contact: James Mathews 0407 416 002