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.
VIDEO: A crowd watched on as a fire threatened three houses in Casey St, Tatura yesterday afternoon.
The Yarrawonga Pigeons scored a 20 point victory over the Myrtleford Saints at the JC Lowe Oval in Yarrawonga on Saturday.
The Aboriginal and wider community is mourning the death of revered Bangerang Aboriginal elder, Uncle John ‘‘Sandy’’ Atkinson.
Two people have been arrested and thousands of dollars in drugs and property found in a major raid in Corop early Monday.
FOUR Rochester residents did more than their bit for women’s cancers mid last month when they trekked 60km around Melbourne to raise funds for the Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre.
Tongala Football Club lost to Rumbalara in the Murray Netball League on Saturday by 14 points.
Four generations of Comi girls this Mother's Day
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.
DESPITE criticism from within the community over a perceived lack of use, the O’Keefe Rail Trail has enjoyed good traffic over the past couple of weeks, with more to come.
Members of a Cobram social group have encouraged women to become a part of community groups, committees and boards.
School fundraises for student with leukaemia.
Fonterra suppliers are reeling after the announcement of a big cut in the milk price from $5.60/kg to $5 for the full current year.
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.