The Australian Food and Grocery Council (AFGC) has urged the Australian Government to carefully examine the release of the Commission of Audit and use it as a blueprint to return the budget to surplus, modernise the Australian economy and address the long term economic challenges.
According to the media release by the Australian Food and Grocery Council, several of the Commission of Audit’s recommendations, including recommendations to enhance fiscal discipline, reform Australia’s federation, commit to regulation reform and streamline and consolidate public agencies, warranted particular consideration.
“The Commission of Audit should be congratulated for its methodical and detailed analysis of the Federal Government’s long term fiscal strategy with a view to addressing serious structural constitutional and economic challenges,” said AFGC CEO Mr Gary Dawson.
“A strong commitment to overhauling the operation of the Australian Federation is long overdue. Overlapping Federal/State roles and responsibilities is penalising industry, adding complexity and increasing the administrative and compliance burden on companies.”
He said AFGC approved the Commission’s focus on reducing cost of doing business through labour reform and de-regulation. According to him, there was a real urgency in “driving regulation reform for the food and grocery manufacturing sector while maintaining Australia’s strong public health and safety standards.”
Mr Dawson said the food and grocery sector was plagued by poor industry regulation and that the AFGC supported the efforts to reduce complexity and overlapping jurisdiction.
“A recent Deloitte Access Economics report described the food and grocery sector as having ‘one of the poorest examples of industry regulation in Australia,’ as companies are being hamstrung by duplication, inefficiency, heavy handed, overly cautious and redundant regulation which is effectively dragging down innovation, productivity and driving jobs and manufacturing offshore.”
“AFGC also supports a concerted effort to rationalise and streamline the number of government bodies to reduce complexity and overlapping jurisdictions. The establishment of a central register of Commonwealth Government bodies will stop the proliferation of agencies and ensure that public service departments remain focused on their core responsibilities,” said Mr Dawson, and called for further analysis and stakeholder consultation in relation to recommended changes to research and development funding and export assistance.