The 2017 Budget rightly puts the focus on jobs and growth and highlights the scale of the economic challenge facing the Government to return the budget to surplus, according to the Australian Food and Grocery Council (AFGC).

AFGC Acting CEO Dr Geoffrey Annison said that the Budget showed that there was a light at the end of the tunnel in returning to surplus, and welcomed the range of budget measures aimed at stimulating employment growth and boosting investment in vital infrastructure.

“The Government is taking action to achieving a surplus by 2020/21, reducing the uncertainty for business which undermines the confidence and investment essential to underpin jobs and growth. However we urge the Government to maintain a fiscally responsible approach to public finances as opposed to increasing taxes to reach this surplus.

““The Government investment in infrastructure will be a significant boost in stimulating growth and confidence in food and grocery and agribusiness sectors.”

“For the food and grocery and agri-food sectors which are spread across the length and breadth of the continent, this massive boost in infrastructure planning and delivery is essential for developing supply chain solutions that create world leading, efficient channels to market.

“The impact of tough budget measures on the $126 billion food, beverage and grocery manufacturing sector can be ameliorated through a concerted attack on its high cost base particularly in energy market and regulatory reform.

“The Government’s investments to increase energy supply, drive gas market reform and enhance market oversight will go some way to addressing industry’s fundamental concern regarding energy security.

“Government can off-set the impact of tax increases on confidence and demand, by aggressively targeting existing cost challenges that are in the form of excessive regulations.

“The Government’s ongoing commitment to regulatory reform through the through the $300 million National Partnership on Regulatory Reform is another important element to improve business conditions by reducing unnecessary restrictions on competition.

“Getting costs down to improve competitiveness is urgent, and regulatory costs and energy costs are two areas where we simply have to break free on the shackles we impose upon ourselves,” said Dr Annison.


AFGC Media Contact: James Mathews 0407 416 002