Home > Industry Minster recruits Combet to advise on SPCA rescue package

Industry Minster recruits Combet to advise on SPCA rescue package

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The Federal Government has recruited the former Labor minister for Climate Change, Industry and Innovation, Greg Combet to negotiate a rescue package for Australia’s largest remaining fruit and vegetable processor, SPC Ardmona.

Combet was recruited by Industry Minister, Ian Macfarlane to negotiate a rewrite of work practices including the future of the 35 hour week, while the government assesses an assistance package, The Australian reports.

A high level panel designed specifically to advise on a major restructure of the business inclusive of Combet, Telstra chairwoman Catherine Livingstone and former Manufacturing Australia chief and Reserve board member Dick Warburton, is set to be announced today my Macfarlane.

As part of a proposed restructure package, SPCA owner Coca-Cola Amatil is believed to have promised investment in new plant and equipment as well as a new range of product lines, however Macfarlane has emphasised that the restructure must include productivity gains that are sustainable in the long term.

"We will not be putting money into outdated work practices," said Macfarlane.

Although the panel has been designed for SPCA, Macfarlane says that restructure could provide a lead for frozen vegetable processor Simplot who is also seeking government assistance.

The troubled cannery was forced to sever contracts with a significant number of Goulburn Valley fruit growers earlier this year due to the influx of cheap imports, rising production costs and the high Australian dollar.

SPCA has since secured various deals with Australian retailers in the recent months including a $7m deal with Woolworths which will see the supermarket giant replace imported fruit with locally grown for its Woolworths Select range. However SPC says that these new deals are not enough to sustain the business in the long-term and have stating that it may be forced to close if the Abbott government refuses to come through with a $25m grant promised by the former Labor government.

Image: www.stockjournal.com.au 

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