How much Aussie does it take to be Australian Made
Every Australian is passionate and parochial about our “Australian Made” label. We all identify with the iconic green and gold kangaroo logo proudly representing products – food, clothing or materials – manufactured in Australia which helps customers recognise and buy Aussie goods.
But how far do you go in determining whether a product is wholly made in Australia and deserves to wear the famous label? Independent Senator Nick Xenophon wants the Government to urgently change the law to make it illegal for products made with foreign produce to be labeled “Australian Made”.
While Xeonphon’s suggestion is laudable in theory, it’s, at best, overly simplistic and probably just populist.
Xenophon fails to understand that Australia’s manufacturing industry – especially food and groceries which is the nation’s largest manufacturing sector worth $70 billion annually – is highly complex and raw materials and additives such as colourings, preservatives and flavourings are often ONLY available from overseas sources.
Xenophon is concerned about some orange juice featuring the “Australian Made” label when up to half of the juice comes from overseas.
Oranges and other citrus fruits are seasonal and Australian beverage manufacturers sometimes import concentrates or fresh produce from overseas to meet local demand.
This scenario can be applied to dozens of other everyday processed food products including deli ham, where Australian-produced pork is made into ham using imported brine.
Australian ice-cream manufacturers using local dairy produce also source chocolate and vanilla from overseas as flavourings. Surely the resulting chocolate ice-cream is “Australian Made”?
I am sure that all Tasmanians believe that the chocolate coming from the Cadbury’s factory in Hobart is “Australian Made” even though the cocoa is not grown in Australia.
There are strict standards that govern country of origin labelling in Australia under the Australian and New Zealand Food Standards Code and Trade Practices Act.
The Code requires products to have country of origin statements while the Act enforces a prohibition against making false or misleading statements.
For a product to qualify for a Made in Australia tag under these standards and laws, it must have been substantially processed here and have more than 50 per cent of its production costs in Australia including labour, raw materials and overheads.
These labelling laws and standards are carefully monitored by the ACCC, and Australian manufacturers are aware of the definite rules on what they are legally say on labels.
Therefore, calling for more stringent labelling regulation is short-sighted and unnecessary as it could, in fact, make in harder for Australian Made products to compete.
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