A new plan to relieve fertiliser shortages by increasing production in Australia has highlighted the multi-billion-dollar economic windfall a shift in focus to bring manufacturing back to Victoria could deliver.
Agripower Australian Limited confirmed this week it will ramp up production of fertiliser at its Queensland plant to cope with exploding global demand, generating 11,500 local jobs and $3.2 billion for the regional economy.
Leader of The Nationals Peter Walsh said disruptions to the global supply chain showed the problems of Victoria’s over-reliance on other countries for essential agriculture products.
“A steady supply of chemical and fertiliser is essential for our farmers, but they’re suffering dire shortages because we rely on other nations to produce them for us,” Mr Walsh said.
“The global supply chain took a battering in the COVID pandemic and now conflict between Russia and the Ukraine is further shaking the foundations of Victoria’s key import and export markets.
“There’s also growing concern of the impact that the conflict will have on food security if producers in the Ukraine, which is a massive contributor to global wheat supply, aren’t in a position to meet world demand.
“This could prove to be an opportunity for Australian, and Victorian, farmers to step up to fill supply gaps but that’s at risk with the ongoing shortages of agriculture inputs.”
Mr Walsh said the Andrews Government had neglected Victorian manufacturing, leaving our state overlooked for opportunities in new or emerging sectors.
“Victoria’s past success in manufacturing puts us in the box seat to secure new jobs and business investment, but we risk missing out because it’s not on Labor’s agenda,” Mr Walsh said.
“Only an elected Liberals and Nationals government will establish a $2.5 billion Bringing Manufacturing Home fund, to attract new manufacturers – and new careers – to Victoria with a massive $1 billion specifically for regional Victoria.
“Increasing local manufacturing will secure supply to recover and rebuild our state’s economy and make Victoria number one again as the engine room of Australian manufacturing.”
The Bringing Manufacturing Home fund will focus on areas of strategic importance, including food, fibre and beverages, as well as rare earth and mineral processing, and the manufacture of medicines or PPE.