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Forrest urges one food export brand

Editorial
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Andrew Forrest wants a national brand and logo to identify Australian food exports and would immediately use it on all meat shipped out of WA.

The WA mining billionaire said a host of Chinese business leaders had urged Australia to export food and produce under one brand and logo.

Mr Forrest said that in China's eyes Australian punched well below its weight in quality food exports because "we insist on having our own little corporate brands or our little State brands competing with each other".

"We might be reasonably sized fish in a little pond in Australia but get up here and no one has ever heard of you," he said.

"What they are really interested in is are you Australian or not and is your product genuinely Australian."

"Their message is 'it is Australia we have heard about since school, we haven't heard of your industry association, we haven't heard of your company, we haven't heard that much about your State, but we all know Australia to be clean, green, well-managed, reliable, have a strong legal system and excellent quarantine standards'.

Mr Forrest said he hoped the Federal Government was only months away from endorsing a national brand and logo.

Tourism Minister Richard Colbeck, who was at the forum, has said he will lead the push for an Australian brand to sell food and a range of other products.

Senator Colbeck cited 100 per cent Pure New Zealand as an example of a national brand that worked to the benefit of that country's agriculture sector.

Meat and Livestock Australia and the National Farmers Federation have worked to promote the True Aussie brand launched by the red meat industry in 2014.

Mr Forrest said the world was not in danger of running out of food and that it was a mistake to think that much of China's population did not already eat well.

"There will be not shortage of food. There will be a shortage of quality food, reliable food, of source-identifiable and sustainably supplied food," he said.

Mr Forrest revealed his support for live cattle exports had cooled since he championed the opening up of shipments to the sensitive Chinese market.

"I will support live cattle export, but only when there is no choice. If you ask me what do you prefer, I would say that I'd value-add everything I can in Australia before I shipped it out," he said. 

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