Australian food processors to get cash for eco scheme

By Rory Harrington

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: International trade, Economics, Australia

Australia’s food processing sector has hailed a government move to grant a A$150m aid package to help it implement a national carbon footprint reduction scheme.

The Australian Food and Grocery Council (AFGC) said the cash injection would “provide much-needed support”​ for the food industry.

Inadequate

The money will help the recession-buffeted food sector put into practice the Government’s Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme (CPRS) – a cap-and-trade system of emissions trading for greenhouse gases due to be introduced in Australia by 2011.

AFGC Deputy Chief Executive Dr Geoffrey Annison said the proposed funding would help industry to reduce emissions, explore energy efficiencies and become more sustainable. But he said more was needed.

“We welcome this funding commitment from the Government but the proposed measures don’t go far enough to safeguard the global competitiveness of Australia’s food and grocery manufacturing sector, which is a major exporter and employs 315,000 Australians,” ​he said.

The body added that its main concern was the proposed measures would mean costs would rise across the supply chain - despite help to the food processing sector from the federal Transitional Electricity Cost Assistance Program.

Annison cautioned: “Industry is doing its best to become more energy efficient. However the CPRS does not remove the global competitiveness issue for trade-exposed Australian-made goods which would still be more expensive on supermarket shelves compared with imported goods that don’t have a carbon charge.”

Balance

A report from the AFGC recently found that the value of food, beverage and grocery imports in Australia has grown by 40 per cent in the past five years. The group’s chief said it was vital that an agreement was reached that balanced green issues with economic ones.

“The industry looks forward to an agreement on climate change that ensures the long-term future and sustainability of Australia’s food and grocery industry that doesn’t sacrifice jobs and jeopardise the nation’s economic growth,”​ added Annison.

Related topics: Processing & Packaging

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