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Discussion paper

Exploring the growth potential of Australia's food manufacturing sector

A new narrative for Australia’s agrifood system
Food production Agriculture Food industry and trade Sector regulation Australia

It is clear that Australia’s food manufacturing sector has enormous growth opportunities. But how do we work to realise this potential?

Perhaps the most important message arising from this review was the need to reimagine the way we understand and manage food production in Australia – to think about an Australian food system, not just ‘agriculture’, ‘production’ or ‘manufacturing’ silos.

There has been, in recent years, a plethora of reports and papers and opinion regarding the opportunities and threats facing Australian food producers – typically focussing on either side of an artificial divide between what have become known as “pre-“ and “post-“ farm gate domains.

These reports all provide their own value, and – reassuringly – their narratives all seem to be pointing us in the same direction. But there is something missing – there does not appear to have been any great call to action.

To that end, this report presents a series of recommendations arising from our review of contemporary information and from discussions with industry experts.

While priorities will change as the operating environment also inevitably changes, these recommendations point to some key activities that will help governments develop a clearer picture about what their food policy is and how they are going to support it.

Key recommendation:

  • That the Australian Government works with food system stakeholders to establish an industry-led, food system strategic advisory body, chaired at the Ministerial level, to develop a National Food Plan.

If the Australian food system is to be positioned to take advantage of the huge opportunities foreseen by our experts, and to mitigate the threats, a serious, nationally coordinated approach to food must be prioritised so that it is led by industry with true commitment, collaboration and support from the highest levels of government.

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