Sowing seeds for success: the future of Food & Fibre in Gippsland20/05/2019
Food & Fibre in Gippsland received a boost in the 2018 Victorian Budget with $700,000 to develop an action plan to grow the sector in Victoria’s south-east. Now, a year on, this Gippsland Regional Partnership priority is taking shape, with several major projects underway.
“Food and fibre in Gippsland is a $7 billion industry and a key engine of the local economy,” explains Paul Ford, Chair of the Gippsland Regional Partnership’s Food and Fibre Working Group.
“At each of our three Regional Assemblies, we heard how an action plan was needed for the local industry. This is now well and truly underway.”
The Gippsland Regional Partnership established the Food and Fibre Working Group, made up of senior professionals from industry, Government, innovation, education and the community, to identify and drive forward regional priorities under this action plan.
Among the first initiatives was the recent launch of Food and Fibre Gippsland, a single leadership entity to advocate for the industry and drive activity in the region. This new body was formed by bringing together Agribusiness Gippsland and the East Gippsland Food Cluster.
“Our objective in supporting this amalgamation is to have one leadership entity for the sector that can build partnerships with key global stakeholders, identify emerging issues for the sector and, in response, drive a portfolio of projects that underpins the growth we are seeking,” explains Mr Ford.
The Food & Fibre Working Group also commissioned Food & Fibre Gippsland to prepare a paper that establishes a definitive growth target for the sector in Gippsland.
This recently released discussion paper, “Accelerating Growth in the Gippsland Food and Fibre Industry”, authored by KPMG, sets a five per cent a year by 2025 growth target. Also included are six capability platforms that will underpin that growth.
“There will be more projects to come,” explains Mr Ford, who adds that the next stage in developing the plan is a co-designed workshop with key stakeholders in June.
In addition, a redevelopment of the Invest Gippsland website is also well underway.
With considerable content about the food and fibre sector in the region, the website is targeted at national and international investors, local businesses, potential new residents, and international Governments, and will showcase investment opportunities and highlight the competitive strengths of the Gippsland region.