Food Marketing

06 Sep 2012 questionsarchive

I seek leave to make an explanation before directing a question to the Minister for Agriculture, Food and Fisheries on the subject of food marketing.

The Hon. J.M.A. LENSINK: Early last year, the then food marketing minister (Hon. John Rau) announced plans to introduce an appellation scheme for South Australia and, with great pomp and ceremony, announced:

Our premium regional foods are the equal of any in the world—it's time we protected them with the same vigour as do the Italians and the French.

My questions for the minister are:

1.Does she agree with minister Rau that our premium regional foods require protection via an appellation scheme?

2.Has she sought estimates of what such a scheme would contribute to South Australia's economy?

3.Will she offer assistance to regional communities such as Kangaroo Island who still view the scheme as worthwhile?

4.How does the dropping of the scheme by this minister fit with the government's strategy of 'premium food and wine from our clean environment'?

The Hon. G.E. GAGO (Minister for Agriculture, Food and Fisheries, Minister for Forests, Minister for Regional Development, Minister for Tourism, Minister for the Status of Women) (14:32): I thank the honourable member for her important question. Indeed, in July 2011, the previous minister for food marketing released an appellation discussion paper, called 'Appellation: have your say', to seek industry and also public views on the need for a regional food protection scheme. This resulted in an increased level of industry awareness and a lot of discussion of regional food issues.

This includes a desire to build regional protection and economic growth by strengthening collaboration between food, wine and tourism industries and also to help build and retain unique regional identities. I am advised that 27 submissions were received, and follow-up meetings with industry leaders indicated a desire to build regional protection through a strong and more resilient food and wine sector that utilises existing legislation. Not requiring excessive government interventions was preferred at the time.

There is an opportunity obviously to enhance industry knowledge to better utilise existing frameworks which may better address the objectives of an appellation scheme without the unintended consequences such as barriers to competition, barriers to the marketplace and excessive red tape, which can be very costly and time-consuming. This includes the potential to use existing commonwealth legislation, such as the Trade Marks Act 1995, to look at some sort of protection of regional food products.

PIRSA is committed to collaborating with and financially supporting Food SA, and current projects include a regional signage program, a visiting media program and a regional seasonal program in the Central Market and PIRSA also contributing funds to a pilot demonstration of locally administered and trademarked quality and branding scheme by the Barossa Grape and Wine Association in collaboration with Food Barossa and Tourism Barossa. This project will develop and launch a Barossa trust mark to pilot a regional branding and promotion scheme that aims to establish the Barossa Valley as Australia's leading regional destination for food, wine and tourism on a global stage.

Also, PIRSA has been involved in a project led by the Kangaroo Island Futures Authority and I think A-Gs is investigating some trademark opportunities with KI, so you can see a number of developments have occurred on a number of different rates. Different regions have different views about this. Obviously, the regional branding needs to progress with support from regions and, as I said, it needs to involve local industries, it needs to really come from the ground up, and it needs to satisfy individual businesses within those regions.

Different regions are at different stages of consideration about these matters and there is also a range of different views. Where there is an interest from a region we have done quite a bit to assist in developing that branding, if you like. We have also asked that these groups feed into the group that has been set up around the state rebranding initiative so that there is some consistency of messaging occurring across these regional branding projects and the state project, so there is some coordination happening there.