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Abbott's food labelling delay a blow to SA farmers

Media Release
Penny Wright 31 Mar 2015

The Greens have called out the Abbott Government for holding up vital country of origin food labelling laws which would protect South Australian growers.

Australian Greens Senator for South Australia Senator Penny Wright said there was no justifiable reason for the Government to push back cabinet discussion of the issue until August, meaning new labels will not be on supermarket shelves before the end of the year.

"This is a delay tactic by the government," Senator Wright said. "The Australian Greens have a bill in the parliament right now - one previously co-sponsored by Agriculture Minister Barnaby Joyce.

"Farmers and food manufacturers are under serious pressure.  How much longer should South Australian producers have to wait?"

Under the Greens legislation currently before the Federal Parliament, common terms like "product of" or "grown in" will be clearly defined and confusing terms like "made from local and imported ingredients" will be prohibited.

"We all want to support our farmers and workers by buying local products but our current country of origin labelling is too confusing," Senator Wright said.

"Our bill is the result of years of consultation with the industry. The Abbott Government mustn't be scared off by international food and beverage companies - they need to act as soon as possible to protect our local producers."

The Australian Greens have been working to improve County of Origin labelling since 1998. See a timeline of the issue here and read more about the Greens legislation here.

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