National Food Security Policy Needed


A national food security policy is needed to help feed the greatly increased population predicted for Australia, says Growcom.

The horticultural body’s call follows release of the 2010 Intergenerational Report, which predicts an increase in Australia’s population by 2050 to more than 36 million, of which 22 per cent will be over 65 years old.

Growcom CEO Alex Livingstone said that the Federal Government’s response to problems outlined in the report had ignored a key requirement – that a larger population will need to be fed.

“There is no national plan in place to guarantee that arable land with suitable water and climatic requirements and adequate infrastructure will be available in the future to guarantee our food supply,” he added.

Livingstone said that the government’s determination to put in place measures to lift productivity in order to grow the economy was admirable but ignored a key consideration of investing in infrastructure that would ensure the population had access to economical, fresh and healthy food supplies.

“It is ironic that the report mentions the government’s commitment to investing in an improved vintage pokies hospital and health system while ignoring investment in the cheapest form of improving overall health of the population – access to a healthy diet,” he said.

“The report refers to the need for investment in key infrastructure. The government’s commitment of $3.4 billion to the road network including the major freight route between Melbourne and Cairns is clearly admirable in securing the economic delivery of fresh food to high density population centres. However, the need for all weather roads throughout regional centres engaged in food production is also vital in delivering fresh food to markets,” he said.

“Moreover, the report outlines the federal government’s commitment to increased investment in education and skills and in boosting labour force participation through programs to retrain and re-skill mature age participants. Horticulture’s need for a secure and reliable labour supply in the years ahead must not be overlooked in this agenda.”

Livingstone urged the government to refrain from increasing the tax burden on productive sectors such as horticulture which was an important source of employment and flow-on economic benefits in regional Australia.

Source: Growcom

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