The Government needs to ‘pick up the phone’ and instruct the Productivity Commission to initiate emergency safeguard action to protect fruit processor SPC, after the Commission chairman confirmed in response to questioning from Nationals Senator Bridget McKenzie in Senate estimates last night his organisation was just waiting for a green light.
“Since embattled SPC Ardmona asked the government for assistance against unfair competition from dumped imports over a month ago everybody has come on board except the Gillard Government,” Senator McKenzie said.
““The Prime Minister’s office promised SPC on 10 May that its application would be ‘given serious consideration’, and this is one promise the Prime Minister really needs to keep.”
“While the Government has been dithering, SPC management has been proactive, the union has been constructive, the community has been supportive, even the Canberra bureaucracy wants to be pre-emptive – the stars are really lining up.”
“I have been pursuing this in Senate Estimates hearing for a fortnight now and the story is the same every time: officials are ready to act but they cannot proceed without a go-ahead from the Government.”
“Senator Joe Ludwig in Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry, the Minister for Trade, the Treasury, the Prime Minister and Cabinet, the Department of Industry and Innovation and the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade have all been questioned this fortnight.”
“Labor Ministers have to stop passing the parcel on this and provide support before it is too late for thousands of people and their families involved, including the workers at the factory, the peach and other fruit growers which supply SPC and all the small businesses along the supply chain.
“There is no downside for the Government and it is hard to explain why it won’t act. Just pick up the phone, Minster it is that easy,” Senator McKenzie concluded.
Media contact: Kathleen Tonini mob:0400530027