Page 24 - Food&Drink magazine November-December 2022
P. 24

                FROM THE MINISTER
 Ambition to revitalise industry
The high-quality products you create every day help feed Australia and the world – and return value for your companies and all Australians.
Of course, to produce high-quality products you need great inputs and these are provided by our world-class agriculture sector.
We have an international reputation for producing high-quality, clean and green food. You know even better than I do that our beef, wine and dairy products are globally renowned.
Consumers and businesses know they can trust Australian produce, and the products command premium prices.
In 2021, Australia exported $30.6 billion in manufactured food and beverage products, and the sector contributed $27.4 billion to the Australian economy, with $6.3 billion coming from red meat processing.
Our top trading partners are concentrated in Asia, with China, Japan, South Korea and Indonesia accounting for 45 per cent of exports. Other important trade partners include the United States and New Zealand.
With government and industry working together, the aim is to further expand and diversify our export markets.
Small and medium-sized enterprises dominate the sector, with 99 per cent of businesses employing less than 200 people. This is a great strength, to have so many small businesses, often with strong family and community connections.
But this can also create difficulties with access to capital, support for innovation, or barriers to accessing export markets. Private sector investment in R&D has been falling since 2014.
Through further collaboration and value-adding activities we can overcome these challenges and spur growth. One opportunity is to add value to products previously considered waste.
There are also potential opportunities in the development of plant-based and other complementary proteins, leveraging our environmental
Federal minister for industry and science, Ed Husic, outlines the federal government’s goal to revitalise industry and the role the food and beverage sector has in those plans.
ABOVE: An artist’s impression of the pilot food manufacturing innovation hub on the Central Coast.
OPPOSITE: Federal industry and science minister Ed Husic.
IT’S a great pleasure to be writing here for the first time as the Minister for Industry and Science in the Albanese Labor government.
We have great ambition for industry policy in Australia and I want to work closely with the food industry to match your ambition with our own.
We were elected to support you in our collective mission to revitalise Australian industry; to help turn Australian ingenuity and know-how into creating and supporting great Australian companies.
The food and beverage sector is a significant and important contributor to the national economy.
Our budget handed down by
treasurer Jim Chalmers last month was a sensible and solid start in our work to deliver for all Australians.
As well as provide direct industry grants, including recipients in the food and beverages sector, the Budget has made a $50 million down payment on our National Reconstruction Fund.
This $15 billon fund will help revitalise industry by offering loans, guarantees and equity to ensure that Australia remains a country that makes things.
It will make $500 million available for the agriculture, forestry, fisheries, food and fibre sectors to assist with value adding, diversifying and growing capability.
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