Monday, August 6, 2012

National Food Plan Green Paper

*General disclaimer - this is a very summarized version of the eight page Executive Summary. Unless indicated otherwise, I have only cut and pasted (as opposed to changing content) to give a broad impression of what the green paper is all about. I would encourage you to read the eight page Executive Summary (and the other 200+ other pages as well if you are so inclined) via the links below. It is my intention to accurately represent the content of the document but acknowledge that this very brief summary may not emphasis all of the areas that various parties think might be more important than others. And I apologize upfront for the clunkiness of nothing which bits are my words.*

On 17 July 2012, Minister Ludwig released the National Food Plan green paper – the next step in developing the National Food Plan.

The Australian Government is developing Australia’s first National Food Plan to better integrate all aspects of food policy to ensure a sustainable, globally competitive and resilient food supply that supports access to nutritious and affordable food.

The green paper seeks to inform discussion on the development of the National Food Plan white paper. It discusses a number of options and potential directions that could be adopted by the Australian Government. The Australian Government is seeking feedback on these and other ideas as part of its continuing dialogue before making final decisions about any changes or new initiatives. The government will consider feedback before making decisions about the National Food Plan.

Public consultation on the green paper will continue until 30 September 2012.

The Summary of the Summary

Australia‘s food system is being shaped by global and local forces such as world population growth, changes in consumption preferences, different economic growth rates among countries, climate change, limits to natural resources, and rising health issues due to poor dietary intake.

Australia has a strong, safe and stable food system and Australians enjoy high levels of food security. Australia currently produces far more food than it consumes. We also have the capacity to increase food production in response to market signals and take advantage of growing markets in Asia. Australia is well placed to take advantage of these opportunities because of our key strengths that include our proximity to emerging markets in Asia; our abundance of productive land; a largely pest-and-disease-free biosecurity status; a record of rural innovation; and a skilled and capable workforce.

Australia’s food system is complex and diverse. A National Food Plan will establish an integrated approach to food-related policies and programs for the benefit of food businesses and consumers and underpin the vision of Australia being a reliable, sustainable, productive and resilient supplier of nutritious and affordable food.

The National Food Plan’s key outcome is to ensure Australia has:
a sustainable, globally competitive, resilient food supply, supporting access to nutritious and affordable food. 

To achieve this outcome the Australian Government intends to focus its efforts on seven objectives:
1. Support the global competitiveness and productivity growth of the food supply chain, including through research, science and innovation.
2. Reduce barriers food businesses face in accessing international and domestic markets.
3. Contribute to economic prosperity, employment and community wellbeing in regional Australia.
4. Identify and mitigate potential risks to Australia’s food security.
5. Maintain and improve the natural resource base underpinning food production in Australia.
6. Reduce barriers to a safe and nutritious food supply that responds to the evolving preferences and needs of all Australians and supports population health.
7. Contribute to global food security.

(My words) Other factors for consideration are: (back to the summary of the document) the role of regional Australia in food production, food security, producing food more sustainably, addressing land use conflicts, continuing foreign investment in food production, robust food supply chain relationships, tackling health and nutrition issues, ensuring food safety and contributing to global food security.

You can check out the website here, where you can also download the document, download the cover page for any submission you might want to make, register to attend a public forum, participate in the blog or link to  twitter.

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