Country of Origin Labelling breakthrough at last
26 February 2015
Minister for Agriculture, Barnaby Joyce, said that the Coalition Government was moving to introduce better Country of Origin Labelling rules to give Australians a clearer understanding of where their food comes from.
Minister Joyce said that this was an important reform that was long overdue, had been talked about for too long, and was now going to become a reality under the Coalition Government.
"This is an issue that has impact on all Australians, from families doing their shopping to farmers and producers battling in the market place against sometimes unknown foreign competitors," Minister Joyce said.
Today Prime Minister Tony Abbott announced that Minister Joyce and Industry and Science Minister Ian Macfarlane would work together to develop a new Country of Original Labelling framework that will improve clarity for consumers.
"Country of Origin Labelling should be simple, compulsory, diagrammatical and show proportionality as to where the product is sourced from," Minister Joyce said.
"Importantly, the new labelling system should do away with 'weasel words' and should give the Australian man or woman pushing their shopping trolley no doubts as to the origins of the food they buy."
The Coalition Government has been seriously examining this issue for some time now and changes to Country of Origin Labelling had already been flagged in the government's Agriculture Competitiveness Green Paper released in October of last year.
The Coalition also instigated a Parliamentary inquiry into Country of Origin Labelling, headed by South Australian MP Rowen Ramsey, which has now concluded. The government is currently formulating a response to the inquiry report and its recommendations.
"We look forward to the support of the Labor Opposition as well as the cross-bench on these important changes," Minister Joyce said.
"Labor promised at the 2007 election to "simplify and strengthen food labelling laws" yet it did nothing for six long years – now is their chance to finally act."
Minister Joyce said he was proud to be part of a government that was actually doing something to fix this issue.
Minister Joyce said he was looking forward to working with Industry and Science Minister Ian Macfarlane to progress the issue, as well as other ministers with responsibilities in the area including Trade and Investment Minister Andrew Robb, Small Business Minister Bruce Billson and Assistant Health Minister Fiona Nash.