SPC Ardmona intends to close its Kyabram and Mooroopna factories even if it receives $25 million each from the Federal and Victorian Governments.
SPC Ardmona intends to close its Kyabram and Mooroopna factories even if it receives $25
SPCA managing director Peter Kelly said the company planned to consolidate its operations on one site and bring its workforce together at Shepparton.
Mr Kelly said staff at the company’s three Goulburn Valley locations were aware of its intentions.
‘‘Sure, it will involve the staff taking a bit of a drive to come to Shepparton, but it’s not that far,’’ he said.
In July, Mr Kelly visited the Kyabram factory and staff were asked to be open about moving between the three sites to keep production moving and costs down.
Staff were told production would move from Kyabram to Shepparton for five weeks from January next year, but business was expected to resume in Kyabram in March.
The Kyabram factory employs about 65 full-time, part-time and casual staff.
Australian Manufacturing Workers Union regional secretary Tom Hale said SPCA staff based at Kyabram were aware of the latest plan.
‘‘Some of the staff are happy to be part of it, but others may not be so happy,’’ Mr Hale said.
‘‘I understand it will not be happening until next year and we will certainly talk to the company about how people can be accommodated.
‘‘None of the government money can be spent on redundancy.
‘‘When you add the cost of fuel as well as all the extra time involved, it would be a substantial impost on people.’’
Mr Hale said it may not be an issue to people who were just starting out or who did not mind travelling, but for long-term employees who lived in Kyabram and either walked or cycled to work, it would be a major change.
Federal Labor has pledged $25
Mr Kelly said he had high expectations the commitment would be supported by the Federal Opposition if it won Saturday’s election.
He said if both levels of government showed their commitment by providing the funding injection, SPCA’s parent company Coca-Cola Amatil would invest significantly more than the sum of both amounts in the Shepparton site.
Mr Kelly said the investment package would be game-changing and enable the company to invest in new plant equipment at Shepparton, as well as have a positive impact on the 2015 fruit season and beyond.
‘‘We certainly hope to have bipartisan support for this investment in the future of food processing in Australia’s Goulburn Valley,’’ Mr Kelly said.
Kyabram Chamber of Commerce president Lou Ciavarella said losing that number of jobs from Kyabram would have an effect on the town, although having people still employed was most important.
‘‘A lot of service businesses around here could lose trade and in the longer term, some SPCA staff may decide to move nearer their jobs,’’ he said.
‘‘We would certainly prefer to see the site stay open, but it doesn’t look as though that will happen.’’
Kyabram Development Committee chairman Vince Curtis said the flow-on effects on business in Kyabram would be substantial.
‘‘It’s not just the people getting their jobs moved to Shepparton, a lot of them would then do their shopping and other business over there and that would have a particularly strong knock-on effect on the community,’’ he said.
Mr Ciavarella and Mr Curtis said Kyabram was a resilient town and was already working hard to attract new business.
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