Agriculture Minister Kim Chance today welcomed a survey showing Western Australians wanted to buy local produce and advised companies to market being WA-made as a major plus.
“It is great to see that Western Australians want to support their own farmers and growers,” Mr Chance said.
“We are already seeing more and more companies making a strong point of producing locally and we are seeing more retailers boasting that they support State-based growers. This is something I would encourage others to do.
“It is clear people want to buy local produce, so it is in growers’ and marketers’ interests to make sure consumers know it is from WA.”
However, the Minister said a compulsory State-of-Origin labelling scheme would make WA-grown food more expensive and less competitive.
“The clear advice I have is that such a scheme may be unconstitutional and that such legislation should not be pursued,” he said.
“The last thing we should do is put the brakes on these encouraging developments by forcing a costly labelling system on producers which would drive prices up.
“I will continue to work with growers and producers to develop a workable voluntary scheme that will not increase costs to the sector.
“The Gallop Government has always supported a buy local and regional labelling campaign and it is reassuring to know that WA consumers are also supporting this.”
Mr Chance said a consultative and industry driven approach had already worked with Country of Origin labelling and, following his efforts, a voluntary scheme with retailers had made it easier for consumers to identify Australian produce on WA shelves.
A survey carried out for an Agriculture Department report to a Parliamentary committee has shown the majority of food companies want Country of Origin labelling but do not support compulsory State labelling.
“It is important to make it clear that it was food companies which were polled,” Mr Chance said.
“Growers understand that a compulsory State labelling scheme will raise costs and then prices, making WA produce less competitive.
”Consumers have the final say.
“If you want to be certain you are buying WA produce, ask the store where it comes from.”
Minister's office: 9213 6700