29/02/2008 - 10:44

Food industry discussion paper out for comment

29/02/2008 - 10:44

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The state government's discussion paper outlining the first comprehensive approach to the long-term development of the Western Australian food industry has been released today for public and industry comment.

Food industry discussion paper out for comment

The state government's discussion paper outlining the first comprehensive approach to the long-term development of the Western Australian food industry has been released today for public and industry comment.

Agriculture and Food minister Kim Chance said the food strategy would aim to provide diversification of the state's economy beyond the resources boom and reinforce food security by ensuring the long-term sustainability of the industry.

Mr Chance said 'Food Strategy WA - Building a Healthy Food Future' was the second and more detailed discussion paper released, which sought industry and community comment. Feedback would be used to enable the state government to consider its future role in the development of the food industry.

The minister said that after extensive industry and government consultation, feedback so far had indicated the need for a whole-of-government approach.

"As a result, a working group was formed, comprising senior representatives from government departments to develop this second paper, which outlines in more detail what a food strategy for WA could encompass," he said.

"It is the view that the best results can be achieved through implementing a whole-of-government, whole-of-food chain strategy which will be of significant importance to all levels of our food industry and all Western Australians."

Mr Chance said the discussion paper focussed on the eight key areas of health, sustainability, safety and quality, careers and skills, regional, business and investment, market, and innovation and provided options for discussion on what could be achieved over the next five years.

"By addressing the industry development, environmental and health issues of the food industry, we have an unprecedented opportunity to raise the value of our State's food industry, and provide a better standard of living for many Western Australians," he said.

"It is also important to WA's food manufacturing industry which directly generates about $5.4 billion for the state's economy, with about $1.1billion worth of processed food exports being delivered to high value international markets."

To allow face-to-face discussion about the opportunities outlined in the draft paper, a series of information forums will be held in March.

The first will be held on March 12 in Perth, followed by four regional events in Geraldton (March 13), Albany (March 17), Northam (March 17) and Bunbury (March 18).

The minister said the forums would provide industry and community members with a good opportunity to ask questions and provide input on the future direction of the WA food industry, using the discussion paper as a basis.

Industry and the community have until Thursday, April 10 to provide feedback on the discussion paper.

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