Industry association the Australian Food and Grocery Council has proposed additional incentives to expand and grow local production in its 2022-23 federal budget submission.
The AFGC recommends increasing the amount of funding available through the current Modern Manufacturing Initiative to expand investment in equipment, digitalisation, design, recycling and skills.
The initiative was announced in October 2020 and offers incentives totalling $1.3 billion to six priority sectors within manufacturing, among them food and beverage.
“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,” Tanya Barden, the AFGC CEO, 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 March 29 budget is the last before the election, which is expected in May and which is likely to feature manufacturing as a policy battleground.
Among recommendations are concessional tax incentives to encourage companies to invest in onshore production, further funding through the Translation and Integration streams of the Modern Manufacturing Initiative, and grants to encourage investment in recycling plants to turn recycled content into food-grade soft plastic packaging.
The AFGC, which represents a sector employing approximately 275,000 people, expressed disappointment in December with the amount of grant funding provided through the MMI and the speed with which it was being rolled out.
Their budget submission can be read here.
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