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No safeguards for SPCA

SPC Ardmona is facing more apparent hurdles in its quest for protection from cheap overseas imports and co-investment funds from the Federal Government.

GEOFF ADAMS December 24, 2013 4:10am

The company has received negative decisions from the Productivity Commission and the Anti-Dumping Commission.

And Federal Government ministers have been discussing whether the company deserves support because of a debate over high wages allegedly being paid to employees.

A report on the front page of The Australian said ministers were opposed to providing one-off assistance to the company.

According to the report, opponents of aid believed offering assistance would create a precedent.

SPC Ardmona managing director Peter Kelly said the company would not profit from the funding.

The company said it had written off more than $300million to date as a result of its woes.

‘‘We are confident that we have addressed every productivity issue the government has asked us,’’ Mr Kelly said.

‘‘Discussions are continuing with the Federal Government and we are hopeful of a positive outcome.’’

Federal Member for Murray Sharman Stone and Victorian Senator Bridget McKenzie have been lobbying their own parties to support the processor’s request for co-investment.

Nationals’ Senator McKenzie said SPC Ardmona’s case was different to the support sought by the automotive industry.

‘‘They are not seeking ongoing support. Their request is for assistance to install new technology to improve productivity and efficiency,’’ Senator McKenzie said.

‘‘If we let SPC go, we will lose a lot of skills and expertise for the whole Australian industry, not just the Goulburn Valley.’’

Asked if the tight Federal Budget was going to work against the request for money, Senator McKenzie said it was going to be tough to get the application through and lobbying from both the company and MPs would have to be strong.

‘‘The federal member and I have been advocating pretty hard for this,’’ she said.

On the issue of SPC Ardmona wages, Senator McKenzie said it was up to the company to show to the federal minister they were prepared to address any issues about workforce productivity.

Dr Stone said while money was tight the government was still investing in regional projects in northern Victoria.

She said it was up to SPC Ardmona to put its best case to the federal and Victorian governments.

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