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San Remo shoots goals with netball sponsorship

Pasta brand, San Remo, Macaroni Company has renewed its partnership with Netball Australia for a further three years, supporting the Australian Diamonds team.

San Remo first began sponsoring netball in 2008, throwing its support behind junior netball, the underage National Netball Championships, ANZ Championship and Australia Diamonds for the last five years.

Female food icons receive Hall of Fame honours

The founders of Carman's and Boost Juice are among a range of female food manufacturing representatives who've been welcomed into the Australian Businesswomen's Hall of Fame.

Middle East secretly targets our farms

A QATARI Government-owned company is buying up prime agricultural land in South Australia at well above market rates and is forcing farmers to sign confidentiality agreements.

The company is threatening the farmers with severe consequences if they breach the agreements.

Hassad Australia last year bought a $9 million cattle property near Bordertown and is understood to be negotiating with several farmers on Eyre Peninsula to buy prime cropping and grazing land. It is believed the company is also looking at properties on Yorke Peninsula and in the Mid North.

San Remo shoots goals with netball sponsorship

Pasta brand, San Remo, Macaroni Company has renewed its partnership with Netball Australia for a further three years, supporting the Australian Diamonds team.

San Remo first began sponsoring netball in 2008, throwing its support behind junior netball, the underage National Netball Championships, ANZ Championship and Australia Diamonds for the last five years.

Australian Made urges buy local in the wake of natural disasters

The Australian Made Campaign is appealing to shoppers to look for locally manufactured, made and grown products and produce in the wake of the recent natural disasters across the eastern states.

“The next best thing to providing physical or monetary support is for shoppers to make their upcoming purchases from local growers and Australian manufacturers,” Australian Made Campaign Chief Executive, Ian Harrison, said.

“That puts much-needed reinvestment and money back into the local economy.”

Hungry in the food bowl

AUSTRALIAN farmers could be forgiven for feeling confused.

Every day they turn on the TV, open a newspaper or click on a tweet and are bombarded with politicians, international economists and global food security experts lauding agriculture as the cusp boom industry.

They hear messages exhorting farmers to double or treble their production by 2050 to meet the basic food needs of the world's nine billion hungry people.

The farm sector is told that guaranteed access to food - the ubiquitous hip phrase of food security - will be the key to every nation's future. That future world wars will be waged over sovereign ownership of fertile farms, food and water. And that Australia's continued economic prosperity, after the mining boom is over, will depend on agriculture and its ability to feed Asia's expanding middle class of 2.3 billion by 2030.

At the same time, the Chinese and Qatari governments are buying large Australian farms to produce food - sugar, wheat, sheep and dairy - much of it destined for their own people.

So, too, are Chinese private companies investing in Australian agriculture. Textile giant Shandong Ruyi last week completed its $240 million purchase of Australia's biggest cotton and irrigation property, Cubbie Station, while Shanghai Zhongfu last November was awarded the major government lease to further develop the $300m taxpayer-funded Ord irrigation project.

Have your say on foreign ownership register for land

TIME is fast running out for Australians to have their say on the national foreign ownership register for agricultural land.

The draft paper is seeking views on scope and definitions of ownership interests, compliance issues, access to information included in a register and overlaps with existing regulatory requirements.

The consultation paper was compiled by the foreign ownership register working group, chaired by the Treasury and comprising a range of Federal Government agencies.

A copy of the working group's consultation paper as well as details about how to make a submission can be found by following the links at treasury.gov.au.

The closing date for comments is February 1.

Milk price war worries Qld premier

QUEENSLAND Premier Campbell Newman wants the competition watchdog to investigate the milk price wars.

Coles, Woolworths and Aldi supermarket chains last year dropped their home brand milk price to $1 a litre.

Australian Dairy Farmers campaigned against the cuts which they say have caused major reductions to the income of farmers.

Scores had already left the industry in Queensland.

Risk of crying over spilt milk as brands drop off shelves

The milk wars might be working for consumers for now, but the prevalence and marketing of home brands may lead to less competition - and higher prices - in the future, writes James Robertson.

They used to say capitalism overloaded people with options.

''Choice paralysis'' was the name given to a peculiar kind of stress felt by shoppers faced with 50 varieties of mayonnaise.

But the wheel is turning. Choices are disappearing as familiar brands are pushed off shelves to make way for products branded with supermarkets' own labels.

When milk is dirt cheap in supermarkets, dairy farmers go down the gurgler

Almost two years after triggering a price war in grocery stores, Coles has confirmed discount milk will fill fridges for the "foreseeable future".


Aussies spend $12.6b online in year to November.

Australians spent $12.6 billion on online shopping in the year to November with a surge in the final month as shoppers left adequate time for Christmas deliveries. The National Australia Bank (NAB) Retail Sales Index shows that in the 12 months to November 2012 online retail sales grew 27 per cent, compared to the previous year. Online retail in the year to November was 5.7 per cent of traditional bricks and mortar retail sales.

New record for parcels as online shopping booms

A RECORD number of parcels have been sent through the post this Christmas, according to Australia Post. It expects to deliver three million more parcels this December than it did last year and has hired 2000 more staff to handle the extra load. At a warehouse the size of a football field in Alexandria, workers begin at 4.30am hauling parcels from vans to metal cages, on to forklifts and finally into large trucks. Three-quarters of the warehouse is given

Freedom Foods Group to build new UHT factory, target China

Freedom Foods Group has announced that it will build a UHT milk processing plant in south-east Australia. FFG announced that its business unit Pactum Australia would proceed with plans to build the plant, and the milk will be supplied for both domestic and export purposes. The main aim of the factory is to process milk for export to the burgeoning South-east Asian market, particularly China, which has been briskly upping its consumption of dairy.

Families opt for home-delivered groceries

MELBOURNE households have warmed to a new way to do the family grocery shopping. They are getting their food delivered to their door by Aussie Farmers Direct, which is now delivering 12,000 boxes a week.

Alicia Molik new face of Australian Made

FORMER Aussie tennis star Alicia Molik has a new role - she has been named the face of the Australian Made summer campaign. The Australian Made Campaign yesterday announced the champion would be the face of its summer campaign, encouraging Aussies to support Australian-made and Australian-grown. “I’m delighted to be supporting the Australian Made Campaign,” Ms Molik said. “Buying Australian-made and Australian-grown for our children keeps them healthy and also ensures local job and career opportunities.”

Consumer cost-cutting a sauce of pain for Rosella

CASH-strapped consumers have helped hasten the demise of historic Aussie tomato-sauce maker Rosella - with less expensive "home brand" labels owned by the major supermarkets to blame. With only three weeks left until Christmas, parent company Gourmet Food Holdings may now also be forced to make redundant its 275 staff.

Exporting success: businesses win gongs

TWO Leeton businesses - one that is well known and another that is continuing to develop - have been awarded top honours at this week's Australian Export Awards. SunRice was named the country's best regional exporter, while Walnuts Australia, which is experiencing big growth at its property just outside of Leeton, was honoured with the emerging exporter award.

Online shopping growing rapidly locally

ONLINE shoppers are preferring domestic department stores and retailers over their global rivals with Australian operators now the dominant force in the online shopping battle. Local retailers accounted for almost 75 per cent of the $12.3 billion spent online in the past 12 months, a new survey from National Australia Bank shows. And research reveals the peak time for sales is over lunchtime with office workers surfing the web followed by the early evening period between 8pm-10pm as shoppers use their down time to pick out bargains.

Cheltenham producer's success built on brekkie

A CHELTENHAM muesli-maker has taken out the top title of best business-woman of the year. Carolyn Cresswell, owner of Carman's Fine Foods, won the 2012 Telstra Australian Business Woman of the Year. She also won the Commonwealth Bank Business Owner Award at the Sydney ceremony on November 21.

Buy Australian Made this Christmas

The Australian Made Campaign is encouraging consumers to buy local this Christmas to support and celebrate local industry and local jobs. “The festive season is a great time to celebrate the fantastic products and produce we have here in this country, and the people behind them,” Australian Made Chief Executive, Ian Harrison, said. “When you buy Aussie-made and grown products, you know you’re getting great quality, but you can also count on the fact that your purchase is supporting a local grower or manufacturer at the same time.”

Capilano to enter WA market

Capilano Honey has announced it will acquire a number of WA honey company Wescobee's assets. According to the company it will merge Wescobee's honey packing and distribution operations similar to Capilano's operations.

Report shows devastating impact of supermarket price wars

The impact of the supermarkets’ price war on milk has been confirmed by the latest AgTrends report, according to the Queensland Dairyfarmers’ Organisation (QDO). The QDO said the report shows the “ongoing and devastating impact” of the $1 per litre milk prices in Coles and Woolworths supermarkets. While this won’t be news to Queensland’s dairy farmers, said QDO President Brian Tessmann, it should be a wake-up call for consumers and the government.

Coles-Woolworths milk price war sparks Queensland's biggest off-season clearance of dairy cattle

DAIRY farmers may be paying a high price for cheap milk, with the Coles-Woolworths $1-a-litre price war sparking Queensland's biggest off-season clearance of dairy cattle. An unprecedented 1000 cows have gone under the hammer this month as struggling farmers opt out. There are warnings the exodus has contributed to a shortfall in milk production, which could mean supplies being trucked from Victoria.

Alter foreign policy, sector tells Coalition

A POWERFUL industry alliance has urged the Coalition to rethink its policy on foreign investment out of concern the planned changes could undermine the nation's food security. The alliance of eight big companies and industry groups has sought last-minute changes to a policy that would expand the formal review of investments, particularly in farming and related businesses. (www.theaustralian.com.au login required)

SA Food Industry Award winners

TWELVE food companies from diverse areas of the industry were announced winners at last night’s 15th South Australian Food Industry Awards celebration at the Adelaide Convention Centre.

Mums use online shopping to avoid large crowds and queues this Christmas

MUMS are wrapping up their Christmas shopping early or buying online to avoid having to battle large crowds and irritable kids. Retail analysts said that women strapped for time or worried about dealing with bored or naughty children at busy shopping centres are the most organised when it comes to Christmas buying.

Foreign Ownership Register reveals the great haul of China

CHINA has become the biggest foreign land buyer in Queensland for the first time, with the fast-emerging superpower snapping up more than $530 million worth of Sunshine State soil in the past three years. New figures reveal China has leapt from third to No. 1 on the list of countries owning the most of Queensland in dollar terms.

I am what I eat: Anthony Paech

ANTHONY Paech is managing director of jam and relish maker Beerenberg, based on a farm in the Adelaide Hills that has been in his family for six generations. My family started growing strawberries the year after I was born. There's a picture of me sitting in the backyard with our first patch. I was born in February so every year I'd get a birthday cake with strawberries on it - I still get one now. My two-year-old son James is already picking strawberries. He's a natural. He picks all the right ones and puts them in a container.

Register to track foreign-owned farmland

PRIME Minister Julia Gillard has moved to dispel fears about foreign ownership of Australian agricultural land by announcing a national register to track the local holdings of overseas companies.

Supermarkets put 'fair go' in chains

THE quality and texture and diversity of neighbourhood life in Australia are being diminished by the dominance of Coles and Woolworths. Further, the notion of a fair go is being undermined by these two colossal supermarket chains. Along with the petrol retailers they have acquired, they take as much as 80¢ in every dollar we spend on groceries and fuel. They account for 70 per cent of packaged grocery sales and half of all fresh-food sales - meat, fruit and vegetables. They are operating legally, but I reckon in a dubious way that is really only benefiting their shareholders. Consumers may get some lower prices at the supermarket, but we pay a high price in terms of reduced choice and less tangible yet precious elements of life, including community and the liveability and attractiveness of our neighbourhoods.

ACCC to clarify country of origin labelling but Australian Made Campaign says "deceptive" rules need to be changed

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission is taking new steps to address misleading claims made on labels about country of origin claims but the Australian Made Campaign says the watchdog is not going far enough. In a speech this morning to the Australian Food and Grocery Council in Canberra, ACCC chairman Rod Sims said it was important for consumers to have clear and understandable guidance on the claims made on labels, packaging and in advertising about where products have been made or grown.

Supermarket 'milk wars' continue to push farmers out

The Queensland Dairyfarmers Organisation (QDO) says the industry crisis is continuing because of the supermarket milk price war. More than 200 farmers are expected to attend the QDO's conference in Gatton in Queensland's Lockyer Valley over the next two days. QDO president Brian Tessmann says since the major supermarkets began selling discounted milk last year, farmers are receiving less for their product. "It's in a crisis situation I think at the moment," he said. "What we're doing is killing off milk in Queensland to such an extent well last year at the lowest point last year, Queensland was bringing in a million litres a week." Mr Tessmann says 40 farmers have left the industry since the milk price war began 18 months ago and he is worried more will follow. "Over the past 18 months we've lost 40," he said. "If you talk to any of the auctioneers and agents anywhere around Queensland or northern New South Wales you'll find there's quite a few more farmers with herds booked in. "I think the situation is only accelerating at this stage."

Independents warn of "clear and present danger" as ACCC says Coles and Woolies may escape legal action

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission has conceded there is not much it can do about claims of anti-competitive behaviour by Coles and Woolworths. The consumer watchdog's chair Rod Sims told the Australasian Convenience and Petroleum Marketers Association Annual Conference yesterday there was a fine line between combative capitalism that benefits society and law breaking behaviour which damages society. Sims said the ACCC was considering Master Grocers Australia's recent report, which claims Woolworths and Coles are opening oversized and unprofitable stores in marginal sites just to kill off smaller competitors.

Butchers sharpen knifes for war

BUTCHERS are the latest to be unwittingly provoked into a war on prices with a leading supermarket chain. News this week that Woolworths planned to slash the price of its lamb by up to 30% has drawn comparisons to the ongoing battles for cheap milk and bread. The milk wars in particular have had a severe impact on smaller corner store operators who have found themselves unable to compete with the heavyweights. Now with lamb prices seemingly in the crosshairs to win consumer dollars, butchers could be forgiven for wondering how they will survive.

Milk price war takes its toll

UP TO 10 dairy farmers on the Queensland Tableland have left the industry since the start of the supermarkets' price war. The Queensland Dairy Farmers Organisation reported more than 40 dairy farmers had left the industry across the state since the "milk war" started on January 26, 2012, with eight to 10 of those coming from the Far North.

Supermarkets giants Coles, Woolworths tackled on food labelling

BETTER country of origin labelling is needed to help consumers buy Australian-grown produce, an investigation by consumer advocate Choice has found. A labelling review of popular products by Choice found giants Coles' and Woolworths' private label-packaged goods contained less locally made or grown ingredients than their market leader rivals. A Choice inspection found 55 per cent of Coles' private labels and 38 per cent of Woolworths' private labels were locally made or grown compared with 92 per cent for market leader grocery items.

Milk war gives rise to more permeate

AS THE milk wars between supermarkets have reduced margins for milk producers, industry sources say permeate is increasingly being used by producers to reduce the cost per litre. Just how much permeate - which is cheaper than fresh milk and can be used to moderate fat levels - is used has been a closely held secret of the dairy industry.

Consumer wary on Duo

SHOPPERS are growing suspicious of the big supermarket duopoly's price discounting war and the collateral damage it is causing food suppliers, especially farmers, says agribusiness market research specialist David McKinna. Generations X and Y are increasingly fed up with Coles' and Woolworths' market-dominating tactics and what they see as see as an arrogant attitude to smaller retailers and food companies.

Get the facts: 'Coles wrecks family dairy farms'

ANGRY Queensland dairy farmers protesting against the Coles $1/litre pricing strategy have issued a "fact sheet" explaining how the supermarket giant is driving family farms out of business. The fact sheet was distributed at the Royal Queensland Show in Brisbane yesterday as part of a noisy protest where is was argued that Coles' $1/litre campaign was directly resulting in major cuts in the farm-gate price paid by milk processors to farmers.

Senate inquiry targets duopoly

THE federal Senate inquiry into Australia’s food processing sector has made 35 key recommendations, pointing foremost at ways to monitor and control any potentially anti-competitive conduct by Coles and Woolworths. The inquiry recommended an independent government review into the competition provisions of the Competition and Consumer Act (CCA), to assist with forging greater accountability of the retail grocery giants.

Foreign land grab continues

FOREIGN investors have snapped up more than $12 billion in Australian farm land and agribusiness during the past year. Today marks one year since Assistant Treasurer Bill Shorten and Agriculture Minister Joe Ludwig announced their review of international investment, which would see a "prompt and responsible course of action to strengthen transparency of foreign ownership".

Bitter blow to proud quaffers but it's far from the last straw

Another one bites the dust. There were the usual rumblings of discontent this week after the competition regulator gave the all clear for an Anglo-South African takeover of our very own true blue Aussie beer ''icon'', Foster's Brewing. The latest in a long line of homegrown products and companies to fall by the wayside, for some, the fall of Foster's represented the last straw in the moral decay of corporate Australia as the nation rushes headlong into oblivion. Vegemite fell into evil foreign hands years ago, along with Speedo cozzies, Iced Vovos, Aeroplane Jelly and Victa lawnmowers.

We ain't beet yet: saviour comes to the rescue in vegetable price war

THE supermarket price wars began with milk, extended to lamb and have now hit one of Australia's most iconic vegetables, the beetroot, prompting concerns cheap tins on supermarket shelves could kill locally grown produce. Aldi has started selling own-brand tins of beetroot for just 75 cents, forcing Woolworths and Coles to follow suit. But farmers and the only Australian owned cannery, Windsor Farm Foods, have warned the prices are not sustainable. One of the country's few beetroot farmers, the Fagan family in Cowra, were considering ploughing their large crop back into the soil because they could not can their beetroot cheaply enough to compete with Aldi's prices. Determined to save the vegetable that is rarely missing from a hamburger, the entrepreneur, Dick Smith, stepped in this week and bought the Fagan's beetroot crop for almost $80,000 and will have it canned.

Monday 6 September, 2010 Bob Katter on ABC Q&A

Sixteen days after the election, with Australia still waiting to see where the three Independent MPs would place their support, one of those Independents – Queenslander Bob Katter – was an instant hit on the Q&A panel. Even those viewers who disagreed with his politics found his passion and commitment enthralling.

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