Encouraging large corporations operating in the Australian marketplace to show greater loyalty to Australian citizens is the aim of Richard Bovill, vegetable farmer and organiser of the Fair Dinkum Food Campaign which aims to make people aware of the need for stronger country of origin food labelling. He will lead a convoy of Tasmanian farmers on tractors, inviting Victorians to join them, on a journey through Victoria and NSW arriving in Canberra on August 11.
The Tasmanian Government has donated $50,000 and provided a building in Devonport as campaign headquarters. Premier Paul Lennon will travel with the convoy to Melbourne. The CWA and other women-in-agricuture groups are organising itineries, meals and accommodation. Tasmanian businesses have donated tractors worth $800,000 and $50,000 in cash and fuel.
New Federal Agriculture Minister Peter McGauran, who has pledged to tackle supermarket power will ride the lead tractor in the Ballarat rally on July 21. Next month will also see rallies in Shepparton, Mildura and Griffith.
THE CONCERN is the supermarkets’ cost-cutting measures and the long-term effect on the food manufacturing industry and food supply – it could destroy the industry in Australia.
THE MESSAGE is that Australian food could be more expensive than the imported bulk food from China and Europe that is packaged here, but it is an investment in the environment, safe working conditions and healthy and safe food.
Coles and Woolworths have replaced many Australian products with house brands using cheaper imported products from subsidised countries such as Belgium, or from countries with cheap labour such as China. Richard Bovill hopes to discuss these issues with Coles Myer chief John Fletcher and Woolworths chief Roger Corbett during the campaign.