News journalist JARROD WHITTAKER has covered the issues surrounding SPC Ardmona for more than a year. Growing up in the Latrobe Valley, where a major employer left town and decimated the local economy, he shares his opinion on concerns surrounding the fruit processor's industry.JARROD WHITTAKER June 12, 2014 12:15pm
For the past year, News journalist JARROD WHITTAKER has covered the issues affecting the viability of fruit processor SPC Ardmona. For months he has been speaking to the growers, the managers and the punters who were furiously chucking tins in their trolleys. After Tuesday night’s decision to keep Andrew Fairley Ave open, he felt the time was right to share his opinion on the matter.
The top story when I landed in Shepparton two years ago was the number of empty shops.
Everyone was talking about what could be done to address the fact Shepparton had 140 vacant shops.
Federal Liberal frontbencher Andrew Robb even weighed in on social media.
When I arrived I would wander across town wondering what the fuss was.
There were empty shops, but Shepparton seemed like a vibrant regional centre.
It was a world away from the Latrobe Valley, where I grew up. There, the difficult part was finding a shop that was not vacant.
I make this comparison for a reason.
The Latrobe Valley lost about 5500 jobs when its major employer — Victoria’s power stations — were privatised in the 1990s. Shepparton is a region where one of its major employers — SPC Ardmona — is struggling to survive.
Essential Economics’ report into the impact of SPC Ardmona withdrawing from Greater Shepparton highlighted the stakes.
If found 2050 jobs would be lost and $165
Admittedly, the Latrobe and Shepparton numbers are different.
But let me tell you about the impact of thousands of job losses on a region.
It guts a community — and the impact is felt at every level of life.
Those who have the means leave, unemployment shoots up and businesses shut their doors as their customer base evaporates. Property prices tumble.
Some — my family included — sell the family home to deal with the loss of livelihood.
Understandably, when I started covering SPC Ardmona’s problems a year ago, I was concerned.
I understood the end game.
The most rewarding day of my career was the day Victorian Deputy Premier Peter Ryan, SPC Ardmona managing director Peter Kelly and Victorian Premier Denis Napthine announced the $100
Likewise, I couldn’t understand the scenes that played out at Greater Shepparton City Council’s meeting on Tuesday.
Shepparton had $100
There would be no hesitation among people in the Latrobe Valley if they could have the families, the jobs and the community back in exchange for a strip of road.
At this stage there’s no knowing if this nightmare scenario will play out. But at a cost of $100
Let’s hope it doesn’t turn out to be the most costly.
Police are asking for information about an assault in Shepparton that left a man with serious facial injuries and broken bones last month.
The 2014 Yarrawonga Mulwala Multisport Festival has been hailed a huge success by organisers and participants alike.
The fifth annual King Billy Retreat Open Garden Party will be held at Rushworth on Saturday and Sunday, October 25-26, from 10 am to 4 pm.
Emily Umbers has been helping members of the Maasai community to get a toilet.
St Joseph’s Primary School students took part in an extended after-school stay.
Fraser sure has aces in spades
A great day brought big numbers to Station St in Seymour.
Finley's Mark Whiley has been traded from the GWS Giants to Carlton - the club he has supported all his life.
Nominations are being sought for the annual Axedale CWA community youth award.
Access to Ulupna Island has been blocked at key points, leaving local residents and businesses rallying for a re-opening in a bid to save tourism dollars.
Deniliquin McDonald's raised more than $1300 for McHappy Day on Saturday.
Up to14 new full-time jobs will be created at Pactum Dairy Group in Shepparton, with the company set to embark on an $18million expansion at its factory.
Alma Nungarrayi Granites is the most successful of the Warlukurlangu artists who still live at Yuendumu and enjoys teaching children about aboriginal culture and art.
Discover unbelievable local deals from local businesses every week in the Goulburn and Murray Valley area with Leapon.com.au!
Search properties for sale or rent across North Central Victoria and Southern NSW. Visit your local website for local homes....
Search for published and unpublished photos from McPherson Media Group newspapers and magazines. All our photos are available to purchase.
Place an advertisement in any one of McPherson Media Group's local newspapers.