Food sector to benefit from infrastructure funding, says AFGC

Thursday, 15 May, 2014

The Australian Food and Grocery Council (AFGC) has welcomed the government’s Budget focus on infrastructure and deficit reduction.

“Massive Budget deficits create a climate of uncertainty for business which undermines confidence and investment, essential to underpin jobs and growth. This Budget’s concerted effort to rein in spending and streamline services sends positive signals to business of the government’s fiscally responsible approach to public finances,” said AFGC CEO Gary Dawson.

“The $11.6 billion Infrastructure Growth Package will be a significant boost in stimulating growth and confidence in the food and grocery and agribusiness sectors.

“For the food and grocery and agrifood sectors, which are spread across the length and breadth of the continent, this massive boost in infrastructure planning and delivery is essential in developing supply chain solutions that create world-leading, efficient channels to market.”

According to Dawson, burden assistance programs and R&D tax concessions being curtailed, as well as tax increases, may dampen consumer spending, which will flow through quickly to the consumer goods sector.

“The impact of tough Budget measures on the $111 billion food, beverage and grocery manufacturing sector can be ameliorated through a concerted attack on its high cost base through regulatory and energy market reform,” Dawson said.

“Government can offset the impact of a debt levy and fuel excise indexation on confidence and demand, by aggressively targeting existing and imminent cost challenges that are in the form of excessive regulations.

“Getting costs down to improve competitiveness is urgent, and regulatory costs and energy costs are two areas where we seem to have a great capacity for self-inflicted damage.”

Dawson said that it is “imperative” that regulatory threats such as a national container deposit scheme and the Carbon tax are ruled out. He called on the government to deliver the 1.5% cut to the company tax rate.

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