Shadow Minister for Agriculture & Rural Affairs Joel Fitzgibbon today told Western Australian farmers and industry representatives that the most secure path to profitability is the consolidation and exploitation of our reputation for high quality, clean, green and safe produce.
Delivering the keynote address at the annual WA Farmers Annual Conference, Mr Fitzgibbon said that consumers and investors alike are demanding food which is produced in an environmentally sustainable and even ethical way.
"Future gains in profitability will increasingly come from our capacity to authenticate, verify, consolidate and sustain our clean, green and safe image. Along with animal welfare assurance, these are the areas which will deliver our capacity to secure premium prices for our high quality products", Mr Fitzgibbon told the conference.
The Labor spokesman also spoke about foreign investment saying it is critical to the agriculture sector's success and flagged a new debate about linking foreign investment to environmental and sustainability outcomes through continuous improvement management systems.
"I'm keen for a conversation about a link between foreign investment and environmental outcomes. Does the investment proposal include a commitment to a credible environmental management plan - a plan to improve water efficiency, soil quality and animal welfare outcomes?"
The global food boom presents Australia with enormous opportunity but there are many challenges to overcome if we are to fully capitalise on those opportunities. Attracting investment and securing premium prices by maintaining our reputation as a provider of high quality safe, clean and green produce is key to our success.