Although on opposide sides of politics, Opposition leader Bill Shorten and Member for Murray Sharman Stone hold similar beliefs about the Federal Government's attitude towards SPC Ardmona.JARROD WHITTAKER February 4, 2014 4:57am
A worker signals her enthusiasm as Federal Opposition leader Bill Shorten, Victorian Opposition leader Daniel Andrews and others walk by at Shepparton's SPC Ardmona plant yesterday.
Six months ago the idea Federal Opposition leader Bill Shorten and Murray MP Sharman Stone would find common ground would have been laughable.
What a difference six months can make.
Both have accused senior federal Cabinet members of using SPC Ardmona workers as ‘‘scapegoats’’, following the Federal Government’s refusal last week to help the Goulburn Valley fruit processing company.
Their separate criticism follows Federal Employment Minister Eric Abetz’s comments conditions at the company are ‘‘over-generous’’.
Federal Treasurer Joe Hockey yesterday said conditions at the company were ‘‘astounding’’ and declared ‘‘the age of entitlement is over’’.
Mr Shorten rejected the criticism during a visit to SPC Ardmona’s Shepparton plant yesterday.
He delivered a simple response.
‘‘Stop scapegoating people on 60 and 70 thousand dollars when you’re on a quarter of a million dollars,’’ Mr Shorten said.
‘‘The challenges faced by SPC Ardmona are to do with a high dollar, they’re to do with the dumping of imports.
‘‘The Abbott Government should stop blaming the workforce.’’
He said if SPC Ardmona withdrew from the region, it would cost more than $25
According to an Essential Economics report released last year, the loss of SPC Ardmona would cost the economy $165
The Federal Government’s refusal to help follows decision to provide $16
‘‘What’s the difference between a Cadbury worker in Hobart and cannery worker in Shepparton?’’ Mr Shorten said.
‘‘I’ll tell you the difference — Shepparton is a safe Liberal seat.’’
Speaking yesterday, Dr Stone described Mr Hockey’s criticism of conditions at SPC Ardmona as ‘‘not accurate’’.
‘‘There’s a whole range of other problems that have been identified by the Productivity Commission and the independent panel that the government put together,’’ she said.
‘‘These conditions are the Aussie dollar and the huge influx of imports.’’
She said the company was replacing 74 high-paid maintenance workers with contract labour.
‘‘They say it’s shocking that the food preservers that remain are being paid double their award wage, well an award wage is only $23
She said ‘‘very few’’ workers in food manufacturing were paid the award wage.
A fire truck has lost two of its back wheels on the Goulburn Valley Highway
The Ovens & Murray qualifying final between Yarrawonga and Lavington on Saturday left spectators talking more about the standard of umpiring than the two competing teams.
Greater Shepparton City Council was successful in securing the National Cutting Horse Association Victorian Futurity Cutting Horse Championships for 2014 and 2015, with this year’s event scheduled from September 10-14 at Tatura Park.
Police Association slams secret roster trial.
District hotels and businesses may change rosters with penalty rates for casual employees on Sundays set to be cut.
Students visit local businesses for reading lessons
Bottle thrown at Jason Cole in bitter aftermath to Seymour-Benalla game on Saturday.
A truck driver is lucky to be alive after crashing into a Jerilderie home yesterday morning.
Chef and co-owner of Heathcote’s Willow Room Brent Loam is thrilled with the listing in the 2015 Age Good Food Guide
Cobram kids learn about health with hospital as state-wide obesity campaign is launched.
TRUCKtalk magazine all the rage with local truck drivers.
A few anxious customers were outside the closed gates of the failed Bee-Jay Machinery business on Goulburn Valley Hwy in Shepparton on Tuesday morning, wondering what would become of deposits they had paid for tractors and other machinery.
An unknown sum of money was stolen from Benalla Golf Club this morning after thieves broke into its gaming room.
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