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The Napthine Government is being met with the praise of the Victorian tax payers after stepping up to the plate to assist SPC Ardmona in refitting its processing plant with $22 million, subsequently saving 2,700 jobs.
The helping hand comes after weeks of the Abbott Government bluntly refusing to assist the troubled company after it asked for a $23 million assistance package to keep the cannery running.
Prime Minister Abbott and Treasure Joe Hockey cited that parent company Coca-Cola Amatil had healthy profits and SPC Ardmona should not require further assistance from the Government.
This statement was met with a wave of criticism, including from within the Liberal Parties own ranks as the LNP member for Murray, Sharman Stone, accused both the PM and the treasurer of lying.
“What really upsets me is that the federal government didn’t say ‘we’d love to help we just don’t have the money right now’, what they said was that it was the amazing wages and conditions that knocked the company for six,” Dr Stone went on to say, “Rather than conditions, it was the dumping of cheap products by the Coles and Woolworths duopoly, rise in imports and ten years of drought” that all contributed to the company’s financial woes.
Opposition Bill Shorten affirmed that Stone was “right” in this assessment and that accusing the unions and generous workplace conditions was “inherently wrong.”
Premier Denis Napthine stated that the co-investment of their $22 million contribution and the $78 million from Coca-Cola Amatil again gives SPC and the Goulburn Valley region a bright future after the Bureau of Statistics released figures showing an increase in Victoria’s unemployment rate from 6.2% in December to a January figure of 6.4%.
Federal Treasurer Joe Hockey made no comment on the “bail out” stating that it was a matter for the state government, despite the Abbott government decision to give $16 million to chocolate makers Cadbury for the modernisation of their Tasmanian factory.
State Secretary of the Australian Workers Union Ben Davis released a statement, saying “Napthine has done what Tony Abbott should have done and there is a real lesson in this for the Abbott Government. This is how you support businesses that are doing it tough.”
The state government raised the money from existing programs to be delivered over the next three years and the budget bottom line will not be affected.