AUSVEG has welcomed comments made by Visy executive chairman Anthony Pratt today, that food manufacturing in Australia should be given priority over the car industry, in order to take advantage of food export opportunities in Asia.

“Mr Pratt’s comments echo the sentiment of the Australian vegetable and potato industries. Food manufacturing in Australia is at a crossroad – our government either gives it the support it needs to thrive, or we throw in the towel and allow cheap, substandard imports to continue to flood the domestic market,” said AUSVEG Public Affairs Manager, William Churchill. 

AUSVEG is the leading horticultural body representing Australia’s 9,000 vegetable and potato growers.

In a visit to one of Visy’s paper mills in Tumut in New South Wales, Mr Pratt stated that food was a “natural fit for Australia, unlike the car industry.” 

“With an abundance of high quality fresh produce on offer, Australia is already capable of becoming the ‘food bowl’ of Asia as envisioned in the government’s National Food Plan,” said Mr Churchill.

“Australia has a competitive advantage when it comes to food production,” said Mr Churchill. 

“At the end of the day our food is safer, cleaner, and grown to standards higher than any other in the world and Australia is ideally situated geographically to take advantage of this.”

The Australian agriculture sector employs over 300,000 people and 1.6 million along the entire supply chain. Gross value of production for 2010-11 was nearly $50 billion. 

“If a value chain delivered straight to Asia was realised, regional and rural Australia would become vibrant again and we could capitalise on the four billion people in Asia wanting Australian grown food,” said Mr Churchill. 

“Australia already has the capability to become entirely self-sufficient in terms of food production. Productivity is not the issue – it’s about creating export opportunities for our growers and processors so that the industry can thrive in the future.”

“With a lower Australian dollar and increased support from the government on the ground in Asia, the food processing sector has the very real potential to become a leading contributor to the national economy and the Government should be looking to invest in our competitive advantage, not the car industry,” said Mr Churchill.

MEDIA CONTACT: William Churchill – Public Affairs Manager – AUSVEG
Phone: (03) 9882 0277, Mobile: 0411 166 748, Email: