Chiko Roll helps keep 123 jobs in Bathurst

Simplot, the maker of the iconic Chiko Roll, has saved 75 jobs and created 48 more roles at its Bathurst  manufacturing plant.

Significant payroll tax support from the NSW Government helped make this outcome a reality and Deputy Premier, Minister for Regional NSW, Skills and Small Business John Barilaro, and the Member for Bathurst Paul Toole today toured the site on Monday.

Barilaro said Simplot was facing the prospect of shutting down in 2013, when the NSW Liberals and Nationals Government stepped in to help the company keep its doors open and remain competitive in a tough sector.

“Bathurst was staring down the barrel of significant job losses,” Barilaro said.

“It would have been a tragedy for one of the biggest employers in Bathurst, let alone the producer of the iconic Chiko Roll, loved by so many, to close down.

“The success story of Simplot today is very different to the situation they faced five years ago.

“It is a tribute to Simplot which, with the right support from the NSW Liberals and Nationals Government, was able to continue to grow and invest in the Central West.

“This story is one that showcases how a good business and a good Government can come together to generate a great result for a local community.

“Simplot has transformed itself from an aging manufacturing site into a globally competitive food processing giant, not only saving jobs at the plant but increasing them,” he said.

Bathurst has been at the centre of food processing in Australia since vegetable canning commenced in 1929, and is the home to household’s brands such as Birds Eye frozen vegetables and the iconic Chiko Roll.

Chiko roll born in Bendigo, says inventors’ family

The iconic Chiko roll was invented in Bendigo, not Bathurst, Wagga Wagga or Castlemaine, according to the family of its creators.

And as the ABC reports, the deep-fried combination of carrot, cabbage and meat was invented not by one man, as is commonly believed, but by three brothers Leo, Gerry and Frank McEncroe.

According to Leo’s daughter Jedda Noonan, Frank is usually given the credit because he was the one who took it to Melbourne and helped popularise it.

According to family members, the three brothers were working at a dairy factory in Bendigo when they came up with the roll.

Last week, controversy erupted in Canberra when NSW Nationals MP Andrew Gee said in his maiden speech that the Chiko Roll was made in Bathurst.

This did not go down well with everybody in the House. Nationals Member for Riverina Michael McCormack claimed Wagga Wagga as the Roll’s home, and Labor’s Member for Bendigo Lisa Chesters said it is a product of that Victorian city.

And given that Frank McEnroe was born in Castlemaine, that Victorian city also had a claim on the product’s origins.

The connection with Wagga Wagga comes from the fact that the roll was first sold at the Wagga Wagga show in 1951. And, as Gee pointed out, it is currently made in Bathurst by Simplot.

But, according to the family of it makers, Bendigo is the place. Whether that puts an end to the controversy is yet to be seen.