Posted February 21, 2014
The people of Indi have been watching the recent SPC Ardmona case with serious interest and concern. Whilst some in the electorate of Indi will be directly affected, many others see the situation as an indication of what may be ahead for the agricultural and associated food processing industries in rural and regional Australia. There is no doubt that the closure of SPC Ardmona would be devastating for Shepparton and surrounding communities if it were to happen.
Australia needs a long-term and strategic plan outlining the future of rural and regional agriculture. We need the government to have the vision and strategy to help rural and regional Australia to grow the jobs and the industries at the heart of our communities. Companies like SPC Ardmona require consistency in government policy and deserve answers to the following questions. What is the framework that the government is using to create jobs in these industries? What is the government’s plan to ensure that Australian food producing industries can grow and prosper? A prosperous agriculture and food production industry needs improved infrastructure and innovative education and training. By working with the businesses already in our community we can plan and develop these initiatives efficiently.
The Government committed to producing an Agricultural Competiveness White Paper in December 2013. According to Coalition policy, “[t]he White Paper will set out a clear, well-defined and transparent strategic approach to promote more investment and jobs growth in the agriculture sector.” On behalf of the electorate of Indi and rural and regional Australia, Cathy McGowan MP calls on the Government to outline the timeline for the delivery of this White Paper. The rejection of SPC Ardmona’s request for government assistance shows that this White Paper is needed urgently. The agriculture and food processing industries deserve the confidence that comes from having a clearly defined policy in regards to how the Government intends to support these industries into the future. Workers are also looking for certainty that jobs in these industries will be sustainable.
The Terms of Reference for the Agricultural Competitiveness White Paper are now available HERE
Start preparing your submissions if you want to have your say. Initial thoughts can be posted HERE