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.
After months of speculation, Yarrawonga’s Alan Williams has been endorsed as the Labor candidate for Murray contesting the July 2 Federal Election.
Three Yarrawonga footballers have excelled at interleague level, representing the Ovens and Murray against Hampden in Warrnambool on Saturday.
The Aboriginal and wider community is mourning the death of revered Bangerang Aboriginal elder, Uncle John ‘‘Sandy’’ Atkinson.
Fletcher and Beau Harris might have only taken up go kart racing two years ago but they’re already showing the potential for future success.
CONSTRUCTION of Rochester’s gym is well into the swing of things, with concrete walls erected early last week.
Kyabram Football Club will host a family day next weekend.
Where there’s a Will, there’s a way
Berrigan Shire councillor Daryll Morris says he has been sickened by some of the vitriol and personal attacks to surface since the council’s proposal to redevelop Finley’s Memorial Hall and School of Arts site was revealed in October last year.
RENEWAL works have resumed on the Coliban Main Channel this month.
For most 10-year-olds, mischievous isn’t a word often found in their vocabulary, let alone having the ability to spell it correctly. But for Cobram Anglican Grammar Year 5 student Cadence Pang, it’s all in a day’s work.
Plans for the release of a carp herpes virus has captured the attention of international press.
Farmers from northern Victoria will join a protest rally over milk prices in Melbourne tomorrow, Wednesday.
The News magazines are online - read high quality magazines in your time. Check in regularly for the latest editions.
Riverine Herald's well regarded locally produced magazines. They're now online, so you can read them whenever and wherever you like.
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.