Although Australia exports more than half of its agricultural production, there are food security problems as the current food supply systems in Australia fail to deliver healthy diets to all Australians and fail to protect the natural resources on which they depend. In addition, the food systems create “collateral damage” to the natural environment including biodiversity loss. In coming decades, Australia’s food supply systems will be increasingly challenged by resource price inflation and falling yields due to climate change. Government and business are aiming to increase production and agricultural exports. This will increase pressure on agricultural resources and exacerbate “collateral” damage to the environment. The Australian public has an ongoing interest in issues associated with the food systems including the environment, education, health and sustainability. A health-giving diet is essential for a full life and over a life-time people need food security. Currently economy development and social planning is undertaken through the pragmatic application of a set of ideas, such as relying on markets and deregulation, collectively referred to as neoliberalism. This paper contends that the neoliberal approach is not solving the current and developing problems in food security and agriculture more generally and suggests that more emphasis should be given to alternatives approaches. Seven alternatives approaches are suggested that could be used to identify gaps and guide the creation of overarching goals in economic development and social planning to improve food security and secure the other material goods and social arrangements that all Australians require to live full lives. However, changing large systems such as those involved in food supply is difficult because vested interests in the existing arrangements make the current systems resilient to change. There are a range of leverage points that have differing abilities to change systems. The paper points out that goals and information flows are good leverage points and suggests establishing overarching goals for the systems relevant to food and restructuring the flow of information about these systems will help reform the food supply systems in Australia.
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