The Australian Food and Grocery Council (AFGC) today welcomed the Leader of the Opposition, the Hon Bill Shorten’s announcement of the Australian Investment Guarantee which will provide targeted tax incentives for Australian industries and Australian jobs.

CEO Ms Tanya Barden said Mr Shorten’s announcement is in line with what the AFGC has been proposing to address declining investment and international competitiveness in the $127 billion food and grocery sector.

“Continuing to stimulate investment in site modernisation is critical particularly in light of mounting input cost pressures. We are now in danger of drifting into a low investment trap, where uncertainty about return on investment flowing from retail price deflation and rising costs are seeing investment decisions deferred or dumped,” said Ms Barden.

“In its 2017-18 Pre-Budget Submission the AFGC recommended that a targeted investment allowance is adopted to bring forward investments in Australia, to retain jobs and businesses here, particularly in regional areas where approximately 40 percent of the sector’s jobs are located.

“Recent growth in food imports have highlighted the declining global competitiveness in the Australian food and grocery sector due partly to industry placing increased reliance on dated machinery and equipment. This initiative will go a long way to encouraging investment in high tech and high skilled projects to enhance efficiency and increase scale.

“We are particularly supportive of the Australian Investment Guarantee’s inclusiveness across the industry sector. The opportunity to use this Investment Guarantee towards energy saving projects is also very important.”

“The Australian food and grocery sector is Australia’s largest manufacturing sector and roughly employs 2.6 percent of the Australian workforce.”

“Stimulating investment is critical at a time when a step change upwards in investment is required to fully capitalise on improved market access and growing demand from middle-class consumers in the emerging economies of Asia and the Middle East.”

“We welcome an ongoing focus on the fundamentals for continued growth, including creating an environment conducive to higher business investment, with reduced red tape and other initiatives which will encourage jobs and growth,” Ms Barden said.

AFGC Media Contact: James Mathews 0407 416 002