Orchard expansion to bring jobs to Gouldburn Valley

A family owned and operated orchard in the Goulburn Valley will get funding from the Victorian state government.

Minister for Agriculture Jaala Pulford announced that Vigliaturo Orchards will receive a grant from the government that will see the company expand, upgrade and employ more people.

Pulford said, “We’ve worked closely with this business to facilitate investment, which will create new jobs right in the Goulburn Valley.”

Vigliaturo Orchards is a family-owned business in Ardmona that grows, packs and markets apples, pears and stone fruits and has received support from the Labor Government under the Regional Jobs Fund.

The $1.8 million expansion of its fruit packing and export facility has created 12 new full time equivalent jobs.

The project has doubled the size of the packing facility, developed additional cold storage and controlled atmosphere capacity, and enabled the purchase and installation of digital grading and packing technology.

The expansion and new technology will increase the company’s daily fruit handling and packing capability from 100 bins to 180 bins.

The Labor Government is supporting projects through its investment funds dedicated to regional Victoria, which focusses on building critical infrastructure, creating jobs, investing in communities and supporting new and emerging industries.


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.

Hundreds lose jobs as Red Lea Chickens closes

Red Lea Chickens has been placed into voluntary administration and, as result, more than 500 workers have lost their jobs.

The company said in a statement posted on its website that it and certain related entities were placed into Voluntary Administration with McGrathNicol partners; Barry Kogan, Jason Preston and Kathy Sozou appointed as Administrators.

“Due to the financial position of the companies, we regret to advise that the Administrators are unable to trade the business and have no alternative other than to undertake an orderly wind-down of operations,” said the statement.

The sacked workers are from the company’s processing plant in the Western Sydney suburb of Blacktown as well as retail stores. The company has operated for over 60 years from this Blacktown site.

Craft brewer Brewpack rebrands, plans $35m facility

Brewpack and Stockade Brew are restructuring under the newly formed Tribe Breweries umbrella and will expand into a new facility in Goulburn.

The $35 million project will see Tribe increase production capacity to over 30 million litres p.a. (approximately 3.5m cartons annual production) with eventual potential for over 70 million litres p.a. (approximately 9m cartons annual capacity). The new state-of-the-art craft beverage production facility is slated to be the largest and most sophisticated of its kind in Australia, and will be completed in September of 2018. The facility will boast best in class brewing and packaging technology in cans, bottles and kegs.

While Stockade will continue to operate under its own brand and label, the Brewpack business will now be rolled under the Tribe Corporate umbrella.

Founded in 2012, Brewpack focused heavily on innovative and high-quality craft brewing of its own proprietary brands, as well as sharing its platform with contract brewing partners to further grow the craft industry.

Under the new umbrella, Tribe will also continue to grow its portfolio of craft products through its newly expanded production into premium cider, RTD’s and boutique non-alcoholic beverages as well as enhancing the breadth of offering through its Marrickville barrel room, launching in late April. This site will become the face and destination for Stockade customers to enjoy the distinctive range of craft beers, as well as experience tours and tastings. This site will focus on next generation beer styles, such as oak aged beers and fermented sours, making them the largest brewer of these beer styles in Australia.

Since its launch over five years ago, Tribe’s current manufacturing facility at Smeaton Grange has grown to well over 1 million cartons of production annually, undergone constant upgrades and modernisation programs and offers superior quality, flexibility and innovation. Furthermore, over the last three years the business has grown its production volumes on average by over 50 per cent a year.

New food manufacturing jobs for Melbourne’s north

Australian smallgoods manufacturer D’Orsogna is creating more than 100 new jobs, including those suitable for former auto workers, through its $61 million expansion in Mickleham.

Minister for Industry and Employment Ben Carroll turned the first sod at the site of the company’s new factory in the Merrifield Business Park, which will create more than 50 additional jobs during construction.

The expansion, made possible through the State Government’s Local Industry Fund for Transition, will include a new purpose-built facility that includes cooking, smoking, cooling, storing, slicing and packaging equipment.

The new facility will make use of the latest developments in processing and packaging technology, which will advance the company’s growth strategy in both domestic and export markets.

D’Orsogna is a family owned manufacturer of ham, bacon and other smallgoods, established in 1949. The company supplies Woolworths, Coles, Metcash and various food service businesses across Australia.

The food and fibre sector is Victoria’s biggest goods export sector, exporting nearly $12 billion annually. The sector contributes approximately five per cent of Victoria’s GSP and employs over 193,000 people.

The transition grants help businesses generate new investment and create jobs for retrenched workers in areas affected by the closure of car manufacturing.

The initiative has supported 38 projects so far, which are expected to create close to 1,000 jobs – more than 800 of which are suitable for former automotive workers.

“The D’Orsogna expansion is creating jobs, boosting the food and fibre sector and further cements Victoria as the home of manufacturing in Australia,” said Minister for Industry and Employment Ben Carroll.

“This massive expansion will boost the local economy and create much needed jobs in Melbourne’s North.”



Cadbury cuts 50 jobs in Tasmania

Fifty workers from Cadbury’s Hobart factory will lose their jobs as the chocolate maker spends $75 million to upgrade the facility.

The job losses represent more than 10 per cent of its Hobart workforce. The company’s parent Mondelez said in a statement most of the job losses, which will happen before the end of the year, are likely to be voluntary redundancies.

“Our team here has worked hard to help us become more efficient, cut costs and improve our competitiveness and as a result, we’ve reduced the cost of converting raw materials into a block of chocolate by 12 per cent,” said Amanda Banfield, Area Vice President.

“But while progress has been made, increasing local and global competition, low domestic growth, rising costs, and Australia’s distance from overseas markets make it difficult to compete against the likes of European factories with lower costs.

“To remain competitive, we need to improve our conversion costs by 30 per cent, plus continue to raise the bar as competition increases further.”

The company said it will realise more efficiencies through investment in new technologies, equipment and automation, plus increase the skills and capabilities of its people and ensure its teams are the right size.

The $75 million upgrade will take place over the next 18 months.


Owner denies closure of iconic XXXX brewery

Japanese beverage company Lion has denied claims that the XXXX Brisbane brewery will be closing, following reports that the facility would be shut due to pay disputes.

Lion spokesperson Dan Holland has assured that the brewery will not be closing and is in fact looking to hire five more people.

“There are no job losses or changes,” he said in a statement, adding that the company was “actually hiring five more permanent people”, not firing workers.

“In fact, there will be pay offers on the table – on top of the best pay and work conditions in brewing in Queensland,” said Holland.

However, United Voice coordinator Damien Davies claimed workers at the Castlemaine Perkins brewery in Milton had received threats that the plant would close if negotiations to eliminate full-time jobs in favour of labour-hire, part-time and casual positions were not successful.

Referring to the five new positions which Lion has claimed to be hiring for, Davies has alleged that these are part-time positions which will replace full-time roles. He has called upon Lion to put its claims in writing and commit to full-time jobs in its Queensland brewery.

Calls for caution after 40,000 manufacturing jobs boost in Australia

A warning has been fired to Australia’s manufacturing industry despite a bump in job numbers over the past financial year.

Around 40,000 new manufacturing jobs – recorded by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) – were presented in a recently published paper at the Manufacturing Matters conference held at Parliament House, in Canberra, on Wednesday.

Co-authored by Jim Stanford and Tom Swann at the Centre for Future Work and the Australia Institute, the paper Manufacturing: a moment of opportunity offers promise of a brighter future for the industry in Australia.

However, despite many reasons for optimism being expressed throughout the event, there were also calls for caution.

Speaking at the conference, South Australia senator Nick Xenophon was very welcoming of a jobs spike but rallied for a sense of perspective.

“There is something seriously wrong where in a country such as Australia – one of the most advanced, developed nations in the world – our manufacturing sector has shrunk from 12 per cent a decade ago to just over six per cent,” Xenophon said.

“The fact that employment, according to the paper, has increased in the past year and that manufacturing exports and profits are on the rise is very welcoming. But I am cautious that we should consider these a trend.

“We need to be wary because ABS are not forecasting figures and are not looking at the pending job losses in the automotive sector and all of the follow-on effects of that, for which we are ill-prepared as a nation.”

manufacturing-matters-picThe paper reviews the qualitative features as to why manufacturing is a “strategically important sector” and argues that the industry should be an “active target for policy” within Australian leadership.

Between speeches and Q&As, senators Arthur Sinodinos (pictured top) and Kim Carr – Australia’s industry and shadow industry ministers respectively – were invited to join the conversation.

“Let’s look at the record,” Sinodinos said. “The manufacturing industry survived the resources boom. Yes, there was job shedding and there were issues but it has survived and is still here today.

“In the last 12 months, employment has grown and the report you are putting out here is illustrating the way the sector is growing and that there are some really good prospects ahead.

“What that tells me is that the sector is resilient. It tells me that the sector sees a future and that, in the government, our role is to back the sector in doing it.”

(Images:  David Howe)

Goodman Fielder delays WA factory closure

Food manufacturer Goodman Fielder has delayed the closure of its factory in Western Australia, due to issues with its supply agreement with George Weston Foods.

Earlier this year, Goodman Fielder announced plans to cease production at its Malaga, Perth plant by April 28. The plan was to enter into a supply agreement with George Weston Foods under an agreement which covered packaged bread from brands Wonder White, Helga’s, Molenberg, Lawson’s and Mighty Soft. This was to commence on May 1, with 75 staff to be made redundant.

However, Goodman Fielder has told staff at the Malaga plant that the closure and supply agreement have been postponed until July 1 due to lack of clearance from the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC).

The ACCC is currently evaluating the impact of the factory closure and supply agreement on competition in the WA bread market. The group has received submissions from other local bakers and food services companies that are opposed to the deal, according to industry sources.

Under the proposed agreement, George Weston will manufacture 98 per cent of the Malaga factory’s production, with the remaining two per cent (which covers the Lawson’s brand) to be produced by independent Perth baker, Bovell’s.

Goodman Fielder has advised its staff to take annual leave or unpaid leave until the ACCC makes its decision. Some staff promised redundancy fear they will not be paid, according to Australian Financial Review.

Energy policy could see jobs go offshore – report

A new Australian Industry Group (Ai Group) report, Energy shock: No gas, no power, no future?, concludes that Australia’s energy policy risks sending Australian jobs offshore.

The report finds that businesses and households will see an increase in costs, wholesale electricity prices are almost doubling and spot prices are becoming more volatile. It also found that 51 per cent of households expected price rises in the coming year and only 4 per cent expected a decrease. 

Ai Group CEO Innes Willox said that the current forecast increases are considerable.

“The dollar impact of the current and forecast price increase is staggering. Once fully passed through, the electricity and gas price increases will cost energy users as a whole $10-$12 billion per year.  Households will pay up to an extra $3.6 billion a year, and business up to $8.7 billion a year,” Willox said. 

“Within business, energy-intensive manufacturers will be particularly hard hit, paying up to $4 billion a year. This will worsen margin pressures for business, with some manufacturers questioning their ongoing viability as a result. Such businesses will be looking closely at options to move operations offshore, reduce their local workforces or both.”

Coca-Cola to close South Australia plant

Coca-Cola Amatil (CCA) will close its plant in South Australia in 2019 and, as a result, 180 workers will lose their jobs.

As the SMH reports, the company said that it had reviewed its operations and decided to increase its operations in Queensland and Western Australia.

CCA’s managing director Alison Watkins said that the layout, infrastructure and logistics of the South Australian plant had prompted the decision.

Ms Watkins said CCA would provide financial counselling and help find new jobs for workers affected by the 180 lost jobs. Existing administrative, distribution, and recycling work would remain in South Australia.

The company said that it will spend A$90 million into a new glass production line and juice and dairy production in its new Richlands plant on Brisbane’s outskirts.

The Richlands plants will have lower operating costs than manufacturing in South Australia due to greater automation.

The Adelaide factory currently produces glass bottles, fruit juice, dairy products and some alcoholic beverages.

As Yahoo7 reports, SA Manufacturing Minister Kyam Maher described the news as “exceptionally disappointing” and added that the company did not discuss the issue with the Government prior to making the decision.

Adelaide Now reports that Opposition employment spokesman Corey Wingard was also disappointed by the decision.

“Coke is going to spend $90 million in Queensland and not South Australia,” he said.

“This is further evidence that under the Weatherill Labor Government, SA is not seen as an attractive place to invest.”





SA manufacturing boosts job numbers by nearly 10,000

The lower Australian dollar has helped see South Australia’s manufacturing sector add nearly 10,000 new jobs, including many in the food making sector, in the last 12 months.

However, as The Advertiser reports, a workforce expert believes the state needs to address employment problems, including Holden’s looming closure.

The most recent Australian Bureau of Statistics figures show SA’s manufacturers add 9,700 jobs over the period. Total employment in the sector stands at 79,500, up from a trough of 66,800 in 2013 though significantly less than 103,300 in 2006. The food and beverage sector added 1,200 of the new jobs.

“Given that the Australian dollar will remain relatively low, I think, for a while longer, we can expect to see manufacturing employment numbers to look relatively strong for this year,” Professor John Spoehr of the Australian Transformation Institute told The Advertiser.

Spoehr said SA needed to address its unemployment rate (the highest of any state) and to prepare for Holden’s closure. The full effect of Holden’s Elizabeth plant shutdown would be 6,000 jobs, including at suppliers, he said.

Woolworths’ SPC tomato deal canned, fruit contract uncertain

Woolworths has confirmed it will no longer source tinned tomatoes from SPC Ardmona in Shepparton, and won’t say whether it will continue to buy tinned fruit from the Goulburn Valley cannery.

The Herald Sun reports that a “goodwill” deal to buy SPC’s tomatoes had ended, with pressure coming from federal and state politicians for the supermarket chain to continue its five-year, $70 million contract for home brand canned fruit.

“Woolworths needs to honour their contracts. Everyone in this arrangement needs to honour their contracts,” said opposition leader Matthew Guy.

AAP reports that Woolworths is currently discussing volumes and prices for the coming season, as it does every year.

Woolworths says it remains committed to the “spirit” of the partnership, which has helps support employment of roughly 1,000, plus a similar number of indirect jobs.

As reported yesterday, Woolworths is considering the end of its five-year contract with the Coca Cola-Amatil-owned Ardmona, which was announced in 2014 while the cannery operation was fighting to stay open.

“They really got on board with the Buy Australian campaign at that time and it’s pretty cynical behaviour now two years into a deal to back out,” Shepparton independent MP Suzanna Sheed told AAP yesterday.

It received $22 million in Victorian government support from the former state government to modernise its facilities.


Fonterra axes 30 jobs from Hamilton Canpac plant

There is sadness among workers as Fonterra cuts 30 jobs from its Hamilton packaging facility Canpac.

The proposal to outsource the print and press operations were presented in mid-April, with low milk prices and dairy downturn to blame.

Union E tu has 21 of its members affected by the cut and national Fonterra advocate Fiona McQueen said there was a feeling of great sadness.

“These workers have worked together for a long time, and they’ve worked really hard,” she said.

McQueen said there will be redeployment options but there would likely not be any skilled jobs for metal decorators anywhere in New Zealand.

The union will know more about the worker’s options after future talks held with Canpac next week.

Plant E tu delegate Rachel Paul said the general mood was “like the grief cycle” where some people were “really angry, some are in denial and some are resigned and looking ahead”.

Fonterra New Zealand director of manufacturing Mark Leslie said the decision to cut jobs came from reducing demand on press and print operations and cost efficiencies of outsourcing.

With low milk prices, Leslie said it was “important we consider all alternatives that will drive cash back to our farmers.”

“We have worked closely with this group throughout the consultation period and have listened to all views to ensure their preferences could be met -be it a new role at Fonterra or the option to take redundancy should that be their preference,” he said.

Vacant central coast site to rise again as Tip Top factory

Tip Top has announced that it has purchased and will re-open the former Kellogg’s Australia site at Charmhaven, creating as many as 100 new jobs.

The vacant 25,000 square metre site would be refurbished and integrated into Tip Top’s bakery and distribution network, which includes 11 other factories in Australia (three of these in NSW).

“Tip Top is already a key employer in New South Wales and a strong contributor to its economy – we take great pride in this,” said Tip Top Australia managing director Andrew Cummings in a statement.

“The Charmhaven site will be a complementary addition to our existing network and this exciting multi—million dollar investment will ensure we continue to produce and deliver the highest quality product, daily across Australia”

The site was opened in 2000, before Kellogg’s announced its closure in December 2013 and shut it down in January last year.

The decision was part of a global restructure which saw Kellogg’s shed 7 per cent of its workforce, reported Central Coast Wyong Express Advocate at the time.

Wyong Shire’s mayor Doug Eaton called the news of the factory’s re-opening a “tick of approval” for the area.

“This investment is recognition of the strategic position of the Central Coast to enable food and beverage companies to produce and distribute their products,“ added Eaton.

Food and beverage could underpin SA’s economic future

Food and beverage manufacturing presented a major opportunity for South Australia’s economic expansion, with 85 per cent of the world’s middle-class population growth to come from Asia.

The Advertiser reports that food manufacturing and agriculture could become the state’s biggest employer, according to BankSA, which today releases its Premium Food For Thought report. The economic bulletin was prepared in conjunction with Deloitte Access Economics.

Both domestic and international demand for the state’s food would pick up sharply. The global middle-class is tipped to expand from 1.8 billion to 3.2 billion, with 85 per cent of this increase to come from Asia.

“About 47,000 people are employed in South Australia’s food manufacturing and agricultural industry, which is four times the combined workforce of our car and defence manufacturing sectors,” Bank SA chief executive Nick Reade told The Advertiser.

“BankSA’s research shows that South Australia’s premium food sector has the potential to underpin the state’s economic future.”

Food and grocery manufacturing booming in western Sydney

The food and grocery sector in western Sydney is “booming” according to research released today.

The Daily Telegraph reports that an Ernst & Young report for the Australian Food and Grocery Council shows that the sector represents 33 per cent of manufacturing jobs in the region. The report studied 14 Local Government Areas and found manufacturing employed 103,000 in western Sydney.

 “Western Sydney is Australia’s largest manufacturing region with manufacturing companies generating about $13.5 billion annually,” Gary Dawson, chief executive of the AFGC, told the Telegraph.

“This research confirms just how important the food and grocery manufacturing sector is for future local jobs and growth.”

The food and beverage sector in Australia is growing strongly, and has been assisted by the depreciation of the Australian dollar (which was trading at 73.37 US cents at 8:30 am AEDT).

In October, the AFGC released its annual State of The Industry report, which found a “spectacular” surge in export trade and an additional 3,183 employees hired during the year.

Smith’s Chips factory in WA to close

Smith’s Snackfood Company will shut its Smith’s Chips factory in Canning Vale next year and, as a result, 300 workers will lose their jobs.

The West Australian reports that the company told workers the news at a meeting yesterday at 8am.

The job losses, which will be staggered until the factory closes for good late next year, will come from a range of roles including factory and administrative roles.

“Following a strategic review of its manufacturing operations across Australia, The Smith’s Snackfood Company has announced its intention to close its manufacturing facility at Canning Vale in Western Australia,” a Smith’s spokeswoman said in a statement.

 “This difficult decision was made with careful consideration, and The Smiths Snackfood Company will provide outplacement services and redundancy support to affected employees.”

The closure will not affect the company’s operations in the Eastern states.

The closure will also affect the Western Australian potato growers who currently supply the Canning Vale factory with about 12,000 tonnes of potatoes per year.

One such grower, Gary Bendotti of Bendotti Exporters told the ABC he had been supplying Smith’s for decades and the closure will hit his company hard.

Another grower, Manjimup Shire president Wade DeCampo told the ABC, "Smith's has been going through an Australia-wide review and Smith's is owned by Pepsico, which as we all know is a multinational in America and they take no prisoners unfortunately, and today we are being cut loose."

Fonterra pushes efficiencies and cuts 750 jobs

Fonterra Co-operative Group today provided a further update on its business review.

Fonterra Chief Executive Theo Spierings said the purpose of the review was to ensure that Fonterra remains well positioned to compete in a rapidly changing global dairy market.
One-off savings generated by changes the Co-operative is making during the business review, such as improving working capital, have already enabled the Co-operative to support our farmers during challenging market conditions.
The review is an on-going process that looks at the entire business to identify potential areas where the Co-operative can find more efficiencies and improve future performance. This has included a reduction of roles across the Co-operative which to date totals 750 roles.
“We have great people, but we have to make tough decisions to ensure Fonterra remains competitive in this environment. We will continue to fine-tune our organisation to ensure we best support the initiatives identified by our business review,” Mr Spierings said.
“Our business is looking to the future with the momentum, energy and solid plans needed to keep improving performance.”

Fonterra cuts 523 jobs

Fonterra has announced it will “disestablish” 523 roles in a move to save to co-operative approximately $60 million a year.

The jobs in the firing line are in Fonterra’s central procurement, finance, information services, human resources, strategy and legal teams.

The cuts will cost Fonterra $12 – $15 million, but provide on-going payroll savings of approximately $55 – $60 million per annum.

Fonterra’s Chief Executive Theo Spierings said the news had been unsettling for the people affected but the Co-operative had to change if it was to remain strongly competitive in today’s global dairy market.

“Reducing the number of roles in our business isn’t about individual competency; it is about continually improving the way we deliver performance.”

Fonterra said that the affected staff would begin to leave the Co-operative in September.

The Co-operative has also informed staff that on 5 August it will begin consultation on new business structures with its people in administration roles, sales – ingredients, consumer, marketing, research and development, communications, health and safety, food safety and quality, group resilience and risk, property, procurement and change management.

The changes are a part of Fonterra’s ongoing business review.

“The key aims of the review are to ensure that the Co-operative is best placed to successfully deliver its strategy, increase focus on generating cash flow, and implement specific, sustainable measures for enhancing efficiency,” Spierings said

“A simple example already identified by our supply chain team is a logistics solution that increases the utilisation of export containers leaving our distribution centres, saving up to $5 million a year.”

The review includes measures to improve profitability at Fonterra’s Australian business as well as a series of additional measures to remove barriers across the organisation to enable it to unlock more value.