Get your house in order: Abbott advises SPC

It seems unlikely that fruit processor SPC Ardmona (SPCA) will receive government aid with prime minister Tony Abbott encouraging the brand to get its house in order.

The manufacturer’s cannery in Victoria’s Goulburn Valley is now seriously threatened, despite an expert panel comprising business figures such as Dick Warburton, Catherine Livingstone and former ALP industry minister Greg Combet advising the government to deliver the $25 million that the company requested.

According to AFR, Coca-Cola Amatil, which owns SPC, said it will provide $150 million if both the federal and the Victorian governments provide $25 million each. As part of a proposed restructure package, Coca-Cola Amatil is believed to have promised investment in new a plant and equipment, as well as new products.

Despite last-ditch efforts by Industry minister Ian McFarlane and Victorian Liberal federal MP Sharon Stone, whose Murray electorate takes in SPCA’s major operations, the majority of the cabinet is believed to be opposed to industry assistance.

Stone has emphasised that SPCA is not after a bailout, but on Tuesday (28 January) Abbott painted a grim picture of the company’s future in Australia.

“It is very important that we take seriously the requests that different organisation may put to us as a government, but in the end businesses have got to put their house in order,” he said.

“That is my advice to any business that might be doing it tough at the moment and thinking of approaching the government.”


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