RDA Sunshine Coast has submitted a number of key recommendations on how the Federal Government’s National Food Plan green paper can strengthen regional food industry developments and respond to specific future opportunities and challenges.
“We welcome the government’s initiative and support the development of a comprehensive and considered national perspective on food,” said RDASC Chair Prof Max Standage.
“While this approach acknowledges the importance of regional food systems, it does not provide mechanisms for the advancement of smaller regional producers and manufacturers alongside the future flexibility for large-scale commercial producers. This gap makes it difficult for regional producers, distributors and consumers to be able to clearly understand how to create opportunities and respond to changing markets.”
Prof Standage said RDASC collaborated with several organisations and local interest groups in the preparation of its green paper submission and drew on the recent work and research from the Sunshine Coast Food Futures symposium in August 2012.
As a direct result of the symposium, a public stakeholder meeting was held on the Sunshine Coast on 13 September to discuss possible options and potential directions that could be adopted by the Federal Government.
A summary of RDASC’s key recommendations include:
- Support the processing sector by creating opportunities for investment into small and medium sized processing facilities providing access for local farmer to access markets where there is demand.
- Targeted access to education and research and development for regional producers (existing and next generation) to improve efficiency and maintain market viability.
- Innovative policy initiatives to attract and maintain new farmers and distributors.
- Further evaluation of the various components of the food system that reside in each level (national, state, regional and local) to support the current remobilisation and economic opportunities for localisation of food production, processing and consumption.
- A national research and development investment in pilot/demonstration initiatives, which seek to design and assess the cost benefit of systems based on existing commercially available technology.
- Investigate planning and taxation regimes that may facilitate agricultural use in urban and peri urban settings.
- That a policy be included in the National Food Plan to promote investigation and implementation of a national food labelling scheme which includes traceability and provenance information.
A copy of RDASC’s green paper submission will be available on the National Food Plan website: http://www.daff.gov.au/nationalfoodplan/process-to-develop/green-paper/submissions-received
The green paper identified the importance of research, development and innovation to sustainable food production in Australia, and the need to seize new market opportunities and contribute to the economic prosperity of rural and regional Australia.
Public consultation on the green paper concluded on 30 September. Stakeholder feedback on the green paper will inform discussion on the development of the National Food Plan white paper, expected to be released early next year.
Please CLICK HERE to see RDA Sunshine Coast’s Food Futures Forum research and donload a copy of the Green Paper submission.