National Farmers' Federation

Food Alliance’s call for a national food security strategy to stabilise food prices and protect consumers pays dividends

Government announces inquiry into Food Security in Australia

The National Food Supply Chain Alliance, made up of nine national food industry associations representing 160,000 businesses, says the Government’s announcement that it will commence an inquiry into food security in Australia is welcome and is something the Alliance has been calling for, for many months, following devastating natural disasters.

The Alliance says a successful outcome at the completion of the inquiry is one where there is bi-partisan support to develop a national food supply chain strategy that protects the Australian consumer from ongoing global and domestic disruptions which will ultimately help stabilise food price fluctuations and provide consistent, dependable access to sufficient volumes of food for domestic consumption.

From an industry perspective, improvements in supply chain management will boost business, enhance innovation and technology, create jobs, and increase broader economic development opportunities.

Spokesperson, Richard Forbes said there has never been a more critical time to examine Australia’s food system and then develop a long-term national food plan with future resilience in mind, “The threat to Australia’s national food supply chain, sparked by the pandemic, current geo-political tensions, the threat of a global recession plus the ongoing threat of natural disasters due to climate change, have highlighted the nations vulnerability to both domestic and global factors.

“These events have destabilised our supply chains and triggered flow-on impacts for both the economy and our communities. A reduction in food availability and increased food prices is an example of this. The culmination of these events has placed unprecedented stresses on food supply chains, with bottlenecks in labour, supply of product, processing, transport, and logistics. Recently the Alliance calculated worker shortages of 172,000 from paddock to plate.

“If we look at natural disasters alone, The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has warned that extreme weather events¬ – like floods, heatwaves, fires and droughts – will become more frequent and more severe in Australia due to climate change. And this is likely to lead to more frequent disruptions to food supplies and rising food prices. We are living in a country of rolling natural disasters.”

The Alliance says studies have shown time and time again that achieving supply chain resilience must be a ‘multi-level’ effort meaning it should bring different groups of stakeholders together to work collectively to mitigate and soften the harm caused by supply chain disruptions. Designing a resilient supply chain is a balancing act between our traditional objectives for managing supply chains, and the criteria we will apply to supply chains of the future.

In recent years, several reports and research papers have been written about this issue, but none have been implemented. If there was ever a time to develop and implement a national food supply chain strategy, it is now.

What is the National Food Supply Chain Alliance

The National Food Supply Chain Alliance (NFSCA) represents all facets of Australia’s food supply chain from farmers, processors, grocers and butchers, independent supermarkets, convenience stores, wholesale suppliers and distributors to food retailers including cafes, restaurants, hotels, and clubs. In total, the nine national food industry associations represent over 160,000 businesses with a combined revenue of a staggering $224 billion and who employ almost 1 million workers.

The Associations include: The National Farmers’ Federation (NFF), Australian Meat Industry Council, (AMIC), Independent Food Distributors Australia (IFDA), Master Grocers Australia (MGA), the Australian Association of Convenience Stores (AACS), AUSVEG, Seafood Industry Australia (SIA), the Restaurant and Catering Industry Association and the Refrigerated Warehouse and Transport Association of Australia.