BEEF processors say the federal budget has delivered on several areas for the meat supply chain as it continues to recover from the events over the past two years.
The Australian Meat Industry Council said the budget had provided funding commitments to some key issues for the meat supply chain in the areas of apprenticeships and training, small business, manufacturing and supply, traceability and biosecurity, trade and logistics.
AMIC welcomed the government's spending boost on the new National Skills Agreement and a generous apprenticeships incentive program to support our industry with continuing workforce shortage issues. This includes:
- $2.8 billion over 5 years to upskill apprentices under a new incentive system
- $3.7 billion increase under the new National Skills Agreement
- Expanding access to trade support loans
"The Australian meat industry is managing an ongoing national shortage of workers, 5000 people at any one time, which is significantly impacting our meat supply chain," said AMIC chief executive officer Patrick Hutchinson.
"Our industry welcomes the significant funding for national skills training and apprenticeship programs that are structured to support and achieve a workforce that is skilled, stable and permanent."
In addition to red meat processors, AMIC represents over 1,400 small-medium businesses including independent local butchers, wholesalers, and manufacturers (smallgoods and meat manufacturers).
AMIC supports the budget commitments made for small businesses which includes:
- Small businesses with annual turnover less than $50 million will have a 20 percent tax deduction boost for employee training by registered providers
- $1 billion technology investment boost to support small businesses to go digital, with a $120 tax deduction per $100 spent on investments up to $100k per year
"Within the meat supply chain, small business make up a substantial part of operators. Independent butchers alone represent 20 per cent of total meat sales in Australia," said Mr Hutchinson.
"These initiatives will help streamline this section of the supply chain at a time when the fragility of supply chains has been brought to the public attention such as the Omicron food supply impact in January 2022."
AMIC welcomes the additional $1 billion investment to the current $1.5 billion Modern Manufacturing Strategy, which includes an additional $750 million into the Modern Manufacturing Initiative and $200 million to strengthen supply chain resilience under the Regional Accelerator Program.
"Increased investment in the Manufacturing Strategy shows recognition of the critical role that meat processing plays in ensuring food security and underpinning agricultural manufacturing," said Mr Hutchinson.
"We look forward to the details on the investment in supply chain resilience and what this means for our industry."
Traceability and biosecurity
AMIC welcomes the Morrison government's commitment to traceability and biosecurity with a $100m boost which is much needed.
"Traceability and biosecurity is fundamental to underpinning the Australian meat supply chain from producers through to processors, manufacturers, retailers and exporters," said Mr Hutchinson.
"Every dollar of investment by the government in these areas delivers multiple direct and indirect benefits to the Australian agriculture and manufacturing industries.
"We also welcome sustainability investment in rewarding stewardship to our suppliers, being Australian beef, sheep and goat farmers."
AMIC welcomes $261.7 million in funding towards the whole-of-government Simplified Trade System reform agenda, making Australian exports more globally competitive and trading easier for close to 200,000 Australian businesses.
"As Australia's biggest agriculture exporter, the meat industry continues to support the work undertaken by DFAT and the funding that is made available to issues such as the implementation of the Australia-UK FTA as well as modernising our export industry via the Simplified Trade System reform agenda," said Mr Hutchinson.
"At a time when demand for our exports is ever increasing, we need to ensure our supply chain runs smoothly," said Mr Hutchinson.
"The totality of the budget investments for port, rail and road infrastructure will go towards ensuring this, so long as every one of us working across our supply chain are pulling in the same direction.
"Issues like recent waterfront disputes risk investments like this not being realised to the detriment of Australia.
"Any investment in improving infrastructure will always help Australia's biggest agricultural exporter."
Whilst AMIC remains supportive regarding sections of this budget, as per the AMIC pre-budget submission, there were missed opportunities to further support Australia's biggest agriculture exporter, these include:
- $300m for the extension of the International Freight Assistance Mechanism (IFAM) to mid-2023, to provide exporters with some level of certainty on airfreight, until international border restrictions are removed and a new normal is established
- $70m over four years for the continuation of the initiative under Busting Congestion package to freeze increases in the Australian Government export inspection and certification fees and charges
- $60m (and commensurate Average Staffing Level increases) over four years to double the Australian Government technical market access negotiation capacity for Australian food exports.
- For all the big news in beef, sign up below to receive our Red Meat newsletter.