Labor awaits with interest the details of the Government’s plan following their announcement this morning of proposed changes to country-of-origin labelling.
For the last two weeks, Australians have been waiting for the Government to show leadership on critical matters of food safety while Tony Abbott has been content to sit back and leave the issue to manufactures:
“The bottom line is that companies shouldn't be poisoning their customers.”
Tony Abbott, ABC Radio, 17 Feb 2015
Now that Mr Abbott has finally back-flipped on his carefree attitude and established a process, Labor looks forward to finding a bipartisan solution on an issue that is clearly top-of-mind for Australian consumers and producers.
Australians are entitled to know exactly where their food comes from and not get confused by misleading labelling on the packet. Buying Australian is the best way to secure quality food.
Consultation with consumers groups and food industry representatives is essential.
It is not clear that Barnaby Joyce’s proposed ‘diagrammatic’ approach is a practical solution. Nevertheless, we look forward to hearing more about how the Government believes it might be implemented.
We also encourage the Government to take the opportunity of getting all relevant Ministers together to develop a comprehensive and consistent approach to supporting the Australian food industry.
They can start by addressing the recommendations of the bipartisan House of Representatives report on food labelling, which has been with the Government for three months.
The Liberals might want to think more broadly about the Government’s neglect of biosecurity and Australian manufacturing, which is taking the country backwards and placing jobs at risk.
Labor stands ready to constructively consider any positive policy proposals that might result from this process