Media Release

Planes, trains and automobiles: getting food moving

5 November 2013

Opportunities for food producers in expanding export markets could be jeopardised without significant investment in transport and other infrastructure, according to a new report released today.

Minister for Agriculture, Barnaby Joyce, welcomed the Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics and Sciences (ABARES) report Infrastructure and Australia’s food industry: Preliminary economic assessment.

“If we want to make the most of our export opportunities to growing Asian markets, we need to make sure that the infrastructure is there to support it,” Minister Joyce said.

“We need to ensure we can move it cost-effectively and efficiently so we can build on our competitive advantage.”

The report looks at the role transport, water, energy and telecommunications plays in the future development of Australia’s food industry.

“This report is a significant information resource for governments, industry and producers to help them plan for the future,” Minister Joyce said.

“The report shows this government is investing in the right areas. It highlights the vital importance of Australia’s road network for farmers and food manufacturers in Australia, in particular our country roads and highways.

“That’s why the Coalition Government has committed to the Roads to Recovery Programme to help local councils upgrade local roads. We’re also investing billions of dollars into vital infrastructure projects including Queensland’s Bruce Highway, the Pacific Highway, WestConnex in Sydney and Melbourne’s East West link to name a few.”

The report also articulates that strong demand from Asia creates opportunities to expand production in regional areas.

“However, expanding production in some areas may be challenging. For example, substantially increasing beef production in northern Australia would require large infrastructure investment,” Minister Joyce said.

This report is part of a suite of reports ABARES is producing, the first being What Asia Wants, which was released on 10 October 2013.