Federal budget an onshoring opportunity for Australian manufacturing

The upcoming federal budget is an opportunity to back advanced food and grocery manufacturing capacity in Australia and reverse a long trend of losing vital capabilities offshore, Australian Food and Grocery Council (AFGC) CEO Tanya Barden says. 

In its submission to the 2022-23 Federal Budget the AFGC urges the federal government to enhance the impact of its Modern Manufacturing Strategy with targeted incentives that support investment in new product development, sustainable packaging, advanced manufacturing and digital technologies. 

“Food and grocery is the largest manufacturing sector in the nation, worth almost $133 billion and employing more than 270,000 people,” Ms Barden said. 

“This sector was named as one of the six critical manufacturing capabilities for our nation because it has potential to deliver long-term, transformational change in the Australian economy.” 

The AFGC’s 2022-23 Pre-Budget Submission outlines a series of policy recommendations that aim to enhance the competitiveness and resilience of local food and grocery manufacturing. Building on the landmark Sustaining Australia: Food and Grocery Manufacturing 2030 report released by the AFGC in 2021, recommendations in the Pre-Budget submission include:  

  • Concessional tax incentives for firms seeking to invest in and create jobs and onshore manufacturing capabilities in Australia 
  • Increased co-investment grants within the Translation and Integration streams of the Modern Manufacturing Strategy (MMS) to support investment in modern manufacturing and digital technologies 
  • Provision of grant funding to help set up advanced recycling plants to create food-grade soft plastic packaging with post-consumer recycled content for local food and grocery manufacturers. 

Ms Barden said the understanding of manufacturing needed to evolve to encompass advanced processes. 

“We need to supercharge our sovereign food and grocery production capabilities with measures that support firms to invest, create jobs and develop advanced manufacturing in Australia,” Ms Barden said. 

“Australia has the opportunity, with the right measures, to reverse a long trend of offshoring and create onshore the advanced manufacturing capabilities that are going to be essential to thrive in regional and global markets.” 

The complete AFGC Pre-Budget submission is available on the AFGC website. The 2022-23 Federal Budget will be handed down on March 29.