THE newly created Australian Fresh Produce Alliance has wasted no time in looking to influence the national agenda, delivering its 2019 Federal Election priorities.
Formed in March this year, AFPA is made up of Australia's largest fresh produce growers and suppliers which represent half the industry turnover of the Australian fruit and vegetable sector.
In a statement, the AFPA outlined the following election "wish list":
PACKAGING plays a key role in reducing fresh food waste and its disposal to landfill. Nobody gains if tonnes of freshly grown, healthy and nutritious food is thrown away because of inadequate or no packaging.
The AFPA is seeking government support to:
- Ensuring the role of packaging is focussed on providing consumers with freshly grown, healthy and nutritious food, and minimising food waste.
- Implementing the commitment to use 100% recyclable, compostable or reusable packaging by 2025.
- Removing any non-functional or surplus packaging.
- Reducing the amount of packaging through the broader supply chain.
- Encouraging the development of environmentally sustainable packaging.
THE AFPA is seeking to develop a reliable, productive and diverse workforce as part of the long term sustainable growth of the industry. Government can facilitate this through bipartisan support for:
- A strong permanent local workforce with the opportunity for Australians to pursue a career in fresh produce.
- Continued development of the Pacific Seasonal Worker program to ensure the integrity of the program and to support the workforce requirements of large employers allowing for the employment of such workers throughout the year.
- An agriculture visa or equivalent to provide experienced horticulture workers with the ability to move to different employers during the peak harvest times for different fresh produce across diverse geographical locations.
- The continuing availability of the Working Holiday Maker Visa to support peak harvest labour requirements in recognition of the importance for growers to be able to achieve optimal harvest outcomes.
ACCESS to and expansion of new global markets is key to the long term growth of the fresh produce sector and the flow on benefits to regional jobs, families and communities. The AFPA is seeking:
- Greater Commonwealth leadership, including a whole of government approach, with a focus and urgency on securing market access for fresh produce into our key export markets.
- More resourcing of the Department of Agriculture and Water Resources to ensure that two way trade in fresh produce continues to develop (reducing an impediment to export growth).
- Commitment to, and funding of, a new $10 million technical exchange program with China and Japan as key export markets. The program would be industry led and minimum five-year funding initially.
MODERN living is characterised by new risks, threats and opportunities. Some of the recent challenges for the fresh produce sector have been imposed by external forces.
Industry is taking a more proactive role in this area and needs Commonwealth Government support and partnership to:
- Respond to new risks within and outside of the supply chain with an industry led approach to addressing the underlying issues.
- Coordinate the key players across multiple states and territories to deliver cohesive and considered responses.
THE pollination of crops is essential to the efficient production of healthy and nutritious fresh produce for all Australians. With bee populations under pressure globally, industry needs Commonwealth Government support to:
- Implement trials of alternate pollinators, including bumblebees, as soon as practicable.
WATER policy must focus on ensuring certainty of access to this precious resource and its efficient use. The Commonwealth Government through appropriate policy settings and regulatory mechanisms should support and promote:
- Clear direction as to the security of water rights and the trading of such rights.
- Efficiency of use, including investment in the capture, recycling and reuse of water.
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