03 August 2010

Labor Promises National Food Strategy

Reposted in full from ABC News, 3 August 2010

'Labor will develop a national food plan if re-elected to government, Agriculture Minister Tony Burke has announced.

Last month an ABC Online investigation revealed there are concerns over whether there needs to be more regulation of foreign ownership of farms, as other countries are increasingly looking to Australia to buy up productive agricultural land.

Mr Burke says the national food plan would investigate food security, quality and affordability.

"This is a first for Australia and will integrate all aspects of food policy by looking at the whole food chain, from the paddock to the plate," he said.

"Even though we export 60 per cent of what we grow, we need to ensure that our country's food security is protected in the years to come.

The Greens are in favour of a national food plan, while the Coalition is in favour of more monitoring of foreign purchases, but does not want a register.

Mr Burke says the plan will include a consultation process with key industry players such as the National Farmers Federation, the Australian Food and Grocery Council, CSIRO and Woolworths.
It will be funded through money already provided for in the Budget under the Regional Food Producers Innovation and Productivity Program.

The sale of agricultural land is exempt under the rules of the FIRB unless the sale exceeds $231 million.'

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