1.2 Role of the National Food Plan

​The National Food Plan identifies what we can all do to support our food system. The Australian Government is just one of many participants in the food system, with decisions taken by individual food businesses and consumers largely guiding the direction the system takes– for example, what crops are grown, what products are sold and where to shop. State, territory and local governments also play important roles in many areas of the food system.

In developing the National Food Plan, we are providing leadership and articulating the direction of our food–related policies. However, to be successful, everyone–governments, farmers, fishers, manufacturers, businesses, researchers, consumers and communities–needs to work together.

Our interactions with the food system are broad, covering policy areas such as employment, workplace health and safety, agriculture, education, social disadvantage, infrastructure, health, the environment and conservation, industry and innovation, competition, business and the economy. There are intersections between the National Food Plan and other Australian Government activities and policies, as well as those of state, territory and local governments. Many of these policies apply across the whole Australian economy; for example, our economic and tax policy. Others are more specific, like the National Water Initiative. Figure 1 lists the main Australian Government policies that interact with the food system.

While food can be an important element in many issues, the role of the National Food Plan is not to solve every challenge with some connection to food. Its role is limited to ensuring that Australia has a sustainable, globally competitive and resilient food supply that supports access to nutritious and affordable food. The government deals with the broader issues through a range of policies.

The issue of health and nutrition is significant and therefore requires a specific, strong and multifaceted focus separate from, but complementary to, the National Food Plan. To guide programs and health and nutrition policies, we are developing a National Nutrition Policy. This policy will provide a framework to address key public health nutrition issues identified within the context of the government’s preventive health agenda and help guide the development of new initiatives. The framework is part of the government’s specific commitment to put in place a suite of actions focused on the health and nutrition of all Australians.

Figure 1. Australian Government policies that interact with the food system
Policy area Policy
Overall Policies
  • ‘Australia in the Asian Century White Paper’
  • Competition and consumer policy
  • Fiscal and monetary policy
  • Tax policy
Agriculture and fisheries
  • Agricultural and veterinary chemical policy
  • Biosecurity policy
  • Commonwealth fisheries harvest strategy: policy and guidelines
  • Commonwealth policy on fisheries bycatch
  • Rural research and development policy statement
Education, labour and skills
  • Australian Curriculum
  • Fair Work Act 2009
  • Skills policy
Environment, climate change and energy
  • Clean Energy Future Plan
  • ‘Energy White Paper 2012’
  • Murray–Darling Basin Plan
  • ‘National waste policy: less waste, more resources’
  • National Water Initiative
  • ‘Sustainable Australia, sustainable communities: a sustainable population strategy for Australia’
Health and ageing
  • Australian Dietary Guidelines
  • Government response to ‘Labelling logic: review of food labelling law and policy’
  • National Nutrition Policy (to be released in 2014)
  • National Partnership Agreement on Preventive Health
  • ‘Taking preventative action – a response to Australia: the healthiest country by 2020’
Industry, innovation, science, research and tertiary education
  • ‘A plan for Australian jobs: the Australian Government’s industry and innovation statement’
  • Government response to ‘Food Processing Industry Strategy Group: final report of the non–government members’
  • Food industry innovation precinct National Research Investment Plan
Infrastructure, transport and emergency management
  • Critical infrastructure resilience strategy
  • Draft National Land Freight Strategy
  • Infrastructure Australia
  • ‘National ports strategy: infrastructure for an economically, socially, and environmentally sustainable future’
  • National Urban Policy
Regional Australia
  • Regional policy
Social disadvantage
  • National Indigenous Reform Agreement – Closing the Gap
  • Social Inclusion Agenda
  • ‘The road home: a national approach to reducing homelessness’
  • Welfare and income support policy
Trade and foreign aid
  • Foreign aid policy
  • ‘Gillard Government trade policy statement: trading our way to more jobs and prosperity’