Workers at SPC Ardmona have woken up to unwelcome news reports today that suggest the fruit manufacturer is the latest local business in the Abbott Government’s firing line.
ACTU Secretary Dave Oliver questioned when the Abbott Government would stop going after local manufacturers and actually start fighting for local jobs.
“If Tony Abbott’s objective is to be remembered as the unemployment Prime Minister then he is doing a pretty good job of it,” Mr Oliver said. “This is a Government that has no plans for jobs but whose actions are systematically undermining manufacturing in Australia.
“The Government ran Holden out of town and with it 200,000 local jobs and now they’re trying on the same tactics with SPC. It’s a disgrace.
“Once again we’re seeing senior Government Ministers speaking anonymously to the media in an effort to undermine the local manufacturing sector.
“Yet at the same time you’ve got Agriculture Minister Barnaby Joyce expressing concern about the impact on growers and local coalition member Sharman Stone making the point that ‘If we lose SPC Ardmona we will lose the last fruit manufacturer in Australia – and it will never be recovered.’
“If SPC goes that’s 2000 direct jobs and dire consequences for the region.
“If Mr Abbott is wondering what will happen to SPC he need not look far for a precedent, he’s got one in Holden and the Government’s decisions there have bought the automotive industry to its knees.
“The Government says it wants to end corporate welfare but they’ve got no problem propping up the well-resourced mining sector with up to $4 billion in subsidies including over $700 million in direct budget assistance.
“So at the same time that they’re actively undermining the future of manufacturing in this country, the Government continues to provide its self-titled ‘corporate welfare’ to the mining sector which accounts for only 2.3% of the workforce.”
Mr Oliver said workers are being let down by the Prime Minister who is demonstrating day after day that he has no idea how to support manufacturing in this country.
“Yesterday’s hastily conceived and hopelessly inadequate industry assistance package will not deal with the challenges facing Australian manufacturing and the hundreds of thousands of jobs it supports,” Mr Oliver said.
“It was nothing other than a band aid response by a Government looking for a quick political fix because it doesn’t have a plan for jobs.
“Instead the Government’s answer is to undermine manufacturing, savagely cut public sector jobs, cut skills funding for trade training centres and get rid of the $10 billion clean energy finance corporation that would have created thousands of new high skilled, innovative local jobs.
“Once again Mr Abbott has shirked an opportunity to explain how he will ensure a robust jobs market in manufacturing and high end innovation and fulfil his election promise to create two million new jobs.”