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New report profiles employment in Australia's food and beverage sector.

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AFFA03/347WT - 27 November 2003

New report profiles employment in Australia's food and beverage sector

A new report that provides the most detailed analysis yet of employment trends in Australia's food and beverage processing industries, particularly in rural and regional areas, was released today at a meeting of the National Food Industry Council by Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry Minister Warren Truss.

Mr Truss said the report - Australian food processing industries: Distribution of employment - was prepared by the Australian Government Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry (DAFF), and provided information on job trends in our largest manufacturing sector.

"The report will be an important resource for governments and development organisations wanting to encourage regional growth, and educational institutions developing study curricula," he said.

The report updates information published by DAFF in a 2001 study called Distribution of employment in Australian food industries, and draws on data collected as part of the 1996 and 2001 censuses.

"This valuable work allows us to look at the industry's employment details by sector, by State, Territory and region, and how they may have changed in the intervening period.

"Overall, the report found that employment in the industry fell by 5.8 per cent, with significant falls in its two largest sectors - bakery (33.6 per cent) and meat processing (30.6 per cent).

"These falls were offset somewhat by significant job growth in the winemaking sector (a 75 per cent increase between 1996 and 2001), and more moderate growth in fruit and vegetable (22 per cent) and dairy processing (8 per cent) sectors."

Other key findings in the report include:

● in 2001, 155,434 people were employed in Australia's food

processing industries -approximately 1.7 per cent of the total workforce; ● that number has fallen by around 10,000 (almost 6 per cent) since

1996; ● the bakery sector remains the single largest employer, but its relative

share fell from 22.1 per cent in 1996 to 15.6 per cent in 2001; and ● the meat processing sector's share fell from 15.5 per cent to 11.4 per

cent during the same period.

Mr Truss said that the fall in bakery sector jobs was due largely to on-going rationalisation and a drop in cake and biscuit exports, while the drop in meat processing sector jobs was the result of plant and equipment upgrades and workplace relations changes.

Copies of the report are available free-of-charge by emailing or calling (02) 6272 4876. It will also be available soon on the DAFF web site -

Further media inquiries:

Minister Truss' office: Tim Langmead - 02 6277 7520 or 0418 221 433