Labor's Plan For Food And Fibre Manufacturing


A Shorten Labor Government will back Australians working in the manufacturing industry with a new $25 million food and fibre industry plan to drive local jobs and innovation, as well as attract investment in manufacturing, particularly in rural and regional areas.

There are huge opportunities to grow our food and fibre industries: timber, wood products, furniture, paper products manufacturing, as well as developing newer materials like carbon fibre, light-weight materials, bio-products and advanced polymers.

These industries are creating new opportunities for local jobs and investment, both along the food and fibre value chain and throughout other manufacturing sectors.

Both food and fibre manufacturing industries are concentrated in regional areas and both these industries and workers face the same challenges from the increased use of technology and moving to Industry 4.0.

Only Labor understands there is a continuing need for innovation, enterprise capability and commercialisation support in these strategic industries.


Labor’s plan will support Australian made food and fibre manufacturing. Labor has also announced that a Shorten Labor Government would prioritise Australian made and locally made products through procurement policies, including in the food and fibre industries. Labor’s $25 million food and fibre industry strategy will:

  • Provide a 21st century industry national innovation and industry framework for the food and fibre industries.
  • Establish a national tripartite innovation council for food and fibre manufacturing, bringing together industry, researchers and unions that would articulate a vision for the future of the sector. The council would:
    • Prepare an innovation roadmap.
    • Stimulate new research and investment in new products and systems.
    • Prepare the industry for future growth.
  • Provide funding for strategic innovation and co-investment initiatives in the food and fibre industries that demonstrate the way ahead.
  • Appoint a Supplier Advocate to coordinate delivery of the plan.
  • Strengthen the sector’s engagement with the science and research sector and support Labor’s goal of a national investment of 3 per cent of gross domestic product (GDP) in Research and Development each year.
  • Ensure there is a joined-up national effort to support the industry and provide a strong basis for collaboration with the states and regional bodies.
  • Link the sector more effectively to our science and research workforce and infrastructure, to skill development and opportunities for new products and markets.
  • Complement Labor’s specific industry plans in meat and forestry.

Labor will also make an additional $10 million investment to expand the Mackay Renewable Biocommodities Pilot Plant so it can develop new fermentation, separation and product purification technologies, and develop new product types, including green chemicals and biotechnology products.

This is all part of Labor’s plan for a 21st century manufacturing economy.

We will pay for it by making multinationals pay their fair share and closing tax loopholes used by the top end of town.