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Food and grocery manufacturing ready to help rebuild Australia

The Australian Food and Grocery Council commends the federal government’s focus on budget repair and supporting Australian industry to strengthen the nation’s economy and sovereign capabilities.

AFGC CEO Tanya Barden said the Albanese government’s first budget shows a welcome focus on rebuilding Australian industry, which has faced extraordinary challenges in recent years from COVID-19, natural disasters and global supply chain disruptions.

“The Albanese government’s focus on investing in industry, regional growth and building the skilled workforce of the future is welcome,” Ms Barden said.

“The government’s $15 billion National Reconstruction Fund is a recognition of the critical importance of domestic industry and sovereign manufacturing capacity to Australia.

“The AFGC represents Australia’s $133.6 billion food and grocery manufacturing industry – the largest manufacturing sector in the country – and we look forward to working with the government to help create the strong manufacturing capabilities that will secure the nation’s future.”

Ms Barden said a number of measures in the budget will support a stronger manufacturing sector, including:

  • $135.5 million over 4 years from 2022–23 to develop domestic manufacturing capabilities and skills, including $17.2 million for a pilot Food Manufacturing Innovation Hub in NSW;
  • An increase in permanent migration levels from 160,000 to 195,000, which will help ease critical workforce and skills pressures currently confronting industry;
  • Support for regional skills by helping apprentices in regional and remote Australia under the Australian Apprenticeships Incentive System; and
  • Supporting investment in regions, where 40 per cent of the food and grocery manufacturing workforce is based.

Ms Barden said: “We must invest in skills for the future, in a digitalised, advanced manufacturing industry that is resilient and internationally competitive.”