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Partnership to grow regional food and fibre in Victoria


The Victorian Government is spear-heading an Australian-first consortium led by the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) to fast-track food and fibre industry growth in regional Victoria.

Minister for Regional Development Harriet Shing visited the Morwell Innovation Centre alongside project representatives to announce the consortium, backed by a $1 million investment from the Government.

Regional Development Victoria (RDV) is partnering with CSIRO, Deakin, La Trobe, ACU, Monash, Swinburne, Melbourne, RMIT, Federation University, and Victoria universities for the project, along with Victoria’s 9 Regional Partnerships, the 6 Victorian-based Regional Development Australia Committees, and Food and Fibre Gippsland.

The food and fibre sector is a diverse industry that includes things we grow or harvest such as animals and fish, dairy, fruit and vegetables, wine, honey, smallgoods, flowers, wool, hemp and mohair.

Across regional and rural Victoria, it includes large and small companies that produce, sell or supply food and fibre products for local use, across Australia, and for export around the world. In 2021-22 Victoria was Australia’s largest food and fibre exporter by value, with $17.9 billion accounting for 26 per cent of the national total.

In Gippsland alone, a KPMG report from 2019 showed it’s a $7 billion industry that makes up nearly half of the region’s $16 billion economy and employs more than 15,000 people.

As part of its critical role in steering economic development for regional and rural Victorians, RDV has already identified several opportunities and concepts for investigation. To receive support, proposals will have to demonstrate a direct economic benefit including delivery of local jobs and business growth within regions.

The consortium will combine leading research institutions with business, industry, scientific and policy experts to explore these concepts and opportunities, develop innovative approaches to support them, and then transform them into businesses that are attractive for investors.

It will map and plan out scope of works, market and investment strategies, supply chain improvements, infrastructure planning, and technical and export feasibility assessments. It will also look at solutions to address challenges facing growth, including access to the market, sustainability, and the impact of fire, flood and drought

The project is part of the Victorian Government’s record investment of more than $41 billion across rural and regional Victoria since 2015.