BUNGAREE farmer Tony Trigg has faced his share of challenges in his time as a potato grower.
However he feels a push to increase the sales of Australian-made produce is finally a step in the right direction.
The Greens introduced a bill to Parliament this week that plans to make it clearer exactly where fresh produce originates, in the hope of increasing sales of Australian-grown goods.
Current laws state that products can be labelled “made in Australia” if more than half of the packaging costs are incurred in Australia and goods have been substantially processed here, regardless of where the actual produce is from.
If the legislation is passed, it is hoped it will encourage customers to buy Australian produce if they know for a fact it was grown in Australia.
Mr Trigg, a fourth-generation potato and dairy farmer, says the proposed new laws would be of great benefit for farmers.
“People say to me they try and by Aussie-made products as much as they can,” he said.
“It will definitely help. Anything that helps us sell more is always good.”
As part of the new bill, actual Australian-grown products would be able to claim to be “made of Australian ingredients” if at least 90 per cent of the ingredients were sourced from Australia.
It is believed the new guidelines will encourage people to buy locally grown products.
Research conducted for the national growers body Ausveg earlier this year found that 80 per cent of consumers surveyed want to purchase Australian produce to support farmers and to have a viable industry.
Mr Trigg said there was evidence that people wanted to buy Australian products.
He welcomed the move but said the next step was to introduce the “made in Australia” labels to fast-food restaurants, many of which sourced their potatoes from overseas.
“Personally, if they put the labels on fast-food outlets it would make an even bigger difference. That might be the next step,” said Mr Trigg.
Introducing the bill in to Parliament, Greens leader Senator Christine Milne said that under current laws, imported food can falsely be claimed to be Australian.
“Cheap imported food can masquerade as Australian-grown and compete unfairly,” she said.
“Australian consumers really want to know about the food they’re eating.”
Debate on the bill has been adjourned.