Labor to support food and fibre manufacturing jobs with $25 million plan

A Shorten Labor Government will back Australians working in the fibre manufacturing industry with a new $25 million food and fibre industry strategy to drive local jobs and innovation, as well as attract investment in manufacturing, particularly in rural and regional areas.

There are huge opportunities to grow our food and fibre industries: timber, wood products, furniture, paper products manufacturing, as well as developing newer materials like carbon fibre, light-weight materials, bio-products and advanced polymers.
These industries are creating new opportunities for local jobs and investment, both along the food and fibre value chain and throughout other manufacturing sectors.
While there is a wide variety of products and markets, businesses in the food and fibre sector have many similarities. They are adding value to natural resources, use of land and water, energy consumption, processing, manufacturing and climate change adaptation.
Both food and fibre manufacturing industries are concentrated in regional areas and both these industries and workers face the same challenges from the increased use of technology and moving to Industry 4.0.
Only Labor understands there is a continuing need for innovation, enterprise capability and commercialisation support in these strategic industries.
Bill Shorten and Labor believe in products made in Australia, and we have consistently said that a Shorten Labor Government would prioritise Australian made and locally made products, including in the fibre industries.    
That is why Labor’s $25 million food and fibre industry strategy will:

  • Provide a 21st century industry national innovation and industry framework for the food and fibre industries.
  • Establish a national tripartite innovation council, bringing together industry, researchers and unions that would articulate a vision for the future of the sector. The council would:
    • Prepare an innovation roadmap.
    • Stimulate new research and investment in new products and systems.
    • Prepare the industry for future growth.
  • Provide funding for strategic innovation and co-investment initiatives in the food and fibre industries that demonstrate the way ahead.
  • Appoint a Supplier Advocate to coordinate delivery of the plan.
  • Strengthen the sector’s engagement with the science and research sector and support Labor’s goal of a national investment of 3 per cent of gross domestic product (GDP) in Research and Development each year.
  • Ensure there is a joined-up national effort to support the industry and provide a strong basis for collaboration with the states and regional bodies.
  • Link the sector more effectively to our science and research workforce and infrastructure, to skill development and opportunities for new products and markets.
  • Complement Labor’s specific industry plans in meat and forestry.

This is all part of Labor’s plan for a 21st century manufacturing economy. 
This project will also be supported by Labor’s comprehensive and coordinated plan that will support local manufacturing firms and jobs, including:

  • Lifting research and development investment to 3 per cent of GDP per annum by 2030, to ensure manufacturing has the best scientific and research expertise available.
  • Supporting firms to innovate and grow through our $1 billion Advanced Manufacturing Future Fund (AMFF).
  • Encouraging business to invest in this country through the Australian Investment Guarantee (AIG), with local businesses benefiting from a new accelerated depreciation scheme for new capital assets.
  • Establishing an Australian Meat Industry strategy, to lift productivity, promote sustainable profitability for producers and processors, and secure regional jobs.
  • Implementing a Local Projects, Local Jobs plan, that will see more government procurement and investment in major projects spent on local businesses and local jobs.
  • Safeguarding Australian jobs in steel, aluminium and other industries vulnerable to trade attack by strengthening the Anti-Dumping Commission
  • Protecting Australians in their homes and workplaces by improving fire safety in buildings with a ban on the importation, future sale and use of highly flammable polyethylene (PE) cladding.
  • Ensuring public safety by restoring building standards to the building industry through national licencing.
  • Ending the Liberals’ war on science and returning science to the centre of government by resetting the relationship between government and Australia’s scientists and researchers.
  • Investing $1 billion to boost TAFE, apprenticeships and skills including, scrapping upfront fees for 100,000 TAFE students who choose to learn the skills that Australia needs to become a modern advanced manufacturing economy.

Only Labor understands that an advanced economy needs an advanced, innovative and highly skilled industrial base. This requires strategic leadership from government as well as a partnership with business and workers.
After six years of Liberal cuts and chaos, our united Labor team is ready.

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