Trade, productivity and innovation were key themes on day two of the Australian Grains Industry Conference in Melbourne.
Pat O’Shannassy, CEO of host organisation Grain Trade Australia, said that trade facilitation, efficient trade and open trade came up time and time again with speakers across the board.
“Whether from government or private industry, large companies or small, there was impressive consistency,” O’Shannassy said.
The Australian Border Force began the day’s programme by explaining their ‘Australian Trusted Trader’ programme, which is all about streamlining the processes for exporting companies as they work through the channels to take grain from Australia through other countries’ import systems – a great example of government seeking to enhance trade and lift productivity.
GrainCorp Chairman, Graham Bradley, and CBH CEO, Jimmy Wilson, both pursued issues around lifting productivity, supporting innovation and the need for governments around the world to encourage open trade and avoid burdening industries with unnecessary regulation or trade barriers.
Both gentlemen emphasised that creating scope for Australian governments to improve supply chain infrastructure, such as rail and road systems, is key as this is exactly what is happening in key competitor countries such as Ukraine and others as they lift their own productivity.
The ag-tech and digital-ag panel discussion was all about constant innovation in the digital space that is lifting productivity through resolving communication challenges and improving financial pathways, as well as the great willingness of people in the grain industry – from farmers right through the supply chain – to embrace new technologies in their businesses.
Shadow Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry, the Hon Joel Fitzgibbon, continued the theme on pursuing innovation, emphasising that what one generation may think is suspicious the next generation sees as normal and that federal and state governments need to work in concert to ensure policies are efficient and effective in encouraging agricultural productivity.
“These messages are clear for the whole industry and government,” Fitzgibbon said.
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