Energy White Paper highlights barriers to food manufacturing competitiveness

The release of the Energy White Paper has been welcomed by the Australian Food and Grocery Council (AFGC).

Rising electricity and gas costs have hampered the competitiveness and profitability of the domestic food and grocery manufacturing industry in recent years, with more pain expected due to a forecast tripling of gas prices, AFGC CEO Gary Dawson said.

The increased price of gas will lead to a cumulative loss of output in the food, beverage and grocery manufacturing industry of $9.7 billion by 2021, according to a report issued by a consortium of six industry associations in 2014. These losses will see 3000 jobs lost over the same period.

“In releasing the Energy White Paper, the Australian Government has agreed with industry’s calls for gas market reform by increasing gas supplies, improving competition and increasing information about gas supply availability and pricing,” Dawson said.

“The government has acknowledged that the gas market needs reform to ease price pressures, improve competition and to give gas users the tools to manage their price risks.

“We look forward to working with the Australian and, importantly, state governments to ensure that the Energy White Paper delivers outcomes that support the competitiveness and sustainability of the Australian manufacturing industry.

“However, gas is only one element in our manufacturing supply chain, and AFGC also calls on government at all levels to finalise previous reforms around electricity, retail market pricing and privatisation.”

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