The Abbott government is standing by its decision not to grant $25 million to SPC Ardmona, saying its up to the company’s owners to do right thing by the workers at the struggling fruit processor.
SPC Ardmona’s parent company Coca-Cola Amatil was seeking a $25 million contribution from the federal government, claiming the cash would allow it to continue production and provide thousands of jobs.
But following a cabinet meeting in Canberra on Thursday Industry Minister Ian Macfarlane announced the government would not be providing any assistance.
Mr Macfarlane said Coca-Cola was a $9 billion company that had the necessary to cash to do the right thing by the by regional Victorians and invest in its future.
“The commonwealth government is confident that Coca-Cola has more than enough assets to do this development,” he told the ABC on Friday.
But he said this was a defining point in the government’s industry policy, and they wanted to make clear they wanted a more strategic approach to assisting Australian companies.
They would no longer be handing out taxpayers money in an ad hoc fashion when companies got into trouble, he said.
“That is very much the old way of assisting industry,” he said.
Acting opposition leader Tanya Plibersek said with government assistance SPC Ardmona had a chance to restructure and a future in Australia.
But she said the government had once again shown it would turn its back on Australian workers.
“So far, there’s not been an Australian job that this new government hasn’t been prepared to see shipped offshore,” she told the ABC on Friday.