Nationals Senator for Victoria Bridget McKenzie said today’s rally in Shepparton to save SPC Ardmona is a wake up call to the federal Government.
The rally, will be attended by growers, processing workers and concerned locals, is calling for action to save the Australian food processing industry.
“Over I00 growers have had their contracts drastically reduced or cut completely, SPC Ardmona will halve their production this year putting at risk many of the 870 full time equivalent jobs and regionally thousands of local picking, packing, transport and associated industry jobs.
“Australian manufacturing remains in crisis under a government that is consumed by internal squabbles, stunts and generalist statements instead of running the country.
“The result has seen around 110,000 Australians lose their jobs in the manufacturing sector since 2008.” “When is the Government going to stop talking and undertake an anti-dumping investigation and commission the Productivity Commission to initiate a safeguard investigation?” Senator McKenzie said.
“The Gillard government have ‘ummed and arred’ over this issue and now they must make up their mind as to where they stand. If they are not going to back our industry they need to come clean and explain why not?
The WTO Anti-Dumping Agreement allows countries to take action against imports from countries allegedly exporting at dumped prices.
Dumping occurs when an overseas supplier exports a good to Australia at a price below its ‘normal value’ in the supplier’s home market. If dumping causes, or threatens to cause, ‘material injury’ to local producers of ‘like goods’, then remedial action can be taken against the imported goods concerned.
“The Goulbourn Valley is the heart of Australia’s food processing sector. A reduction in SPC Ardmona’s production has flow on effects for local growers, employees and small businesses in Shepparton and surrounding towns.
“This government has a responsibility to stand up and fight for food producing and processing industries that are pivotal in rural and regional Australia.
“The Coaltion will reduce the upward pressure on interest rates by getting the Federal government’s budget back in shape. Our root and branch review of the Competition and Consumer Act and beefed up anti‑dumping measures will help ensure arrangements for the long term viability of the food processing Industry,” Senator McKenzie said.
If you want to do your bit to help support local food producers and processors, toss a tin or two of Australian grown fruit in your trolley each time you go to the supermarket