Nationals Senator for Victoria Bridget McKenzie says troubled Goulburn Valley fruit processor SPC Ardmona faces an uncertain future if no action is taken to support the company.
Senator McKenzie said the recently released interim report from the Productivity Commission which found emergency safeguards were not warranted, was not surprising.
‘‘Even so, safeguards are a legitimate action within a free trade environment,’’ Senator McKenzie said.
‘‘According to Essential Economics, if SPC Ardmona closed, the Goulburn Valley would lose 2000 jobs and $165million a year from the economy, not to mention the devastation that would be wrought on growers and their families.’’
She said the mechanisms designed to assist local industry to compete had not kept up with a rapidly changing global market.
‘‘The accelerated report of the Productivity Commission shows that even though ‘serious injury’ to industry was proven, and imports were contributing to that injury, emergency safeguards were not justified,’’ she said.
Senator McKenzie has made a submission to the inquiry, outlining the challenges faced by the canned fruit industry. She said safeguards would give SPC Ardmona time for innovation and adjustment.
Senator McKenzie will raise the issue when The Nationals meet in Canberra tomorrow.
‘‘Governments have supported car manufacturing to the tune of about $10billion over seven years, while agriculture subsidies remain very low compared to international standards,’’ she said.
The former Labor Government also committed $25million to SPC Ardmona before the election.
‘‘We need to support local manufacturers like SPC Ardmona, otherwise it will be our regional economies and communities that will suffer,’’ Senator McKenzie said.
Media contact: Kathleen Tonini mob: 0400530027