Victorian Government hands out $3.9 million “sustainability grant” to one company

Posted by AFN Staff Writers on 21st June 2012

SPC Ardmona, which runs one of  Australia’s few remaining   fruit-processing plants and cannery, has received a significant boost from two Victorian Government grants.

Victoria’s Deputy Premier Peter Ryan and Minister for Manufacturing, Exports and Trade, Richard Dalla-Riva recently announced the approval to SPC Ardmona of grants of $3.9 million from the Victorian Government’s “Sustainable Process Development Project” as well as $500,000 for “New Product Development Initiatives” at the SPC Ardmona Shepparton manufacturing plant.

The grants will be used by SPC Ardmona to make the Shepparton fruit processing plant more efficient and to reinvigorate its Mooroopna plant. SPC Ardmona is renaming the Mooroopna site as a new “Innovation Centre” and the government money is intended to aid the investment by the company in a “cutting-edge” food manufacturing technology.

Presumably, it will also help save some jobs that might have been lost under the restucturing of SPC Ardmona that is being driven by cost-cuts ordered by its holding company Coca Cola Amatil.

SPC Ardmona Managing Director Vince Pinneri said, “There’s no doubt that being able to invest in new technology will bolster SPC Ardmona’s ability to build a sustainable future in the Goulburn Valley.”

Mr Pinneri said financial support from the Victorian Government was critical for SPC Ardmona. Rising imports, rising costs and the significant strengthening of the Australian dollar have altered the trading landscape dramatically for Australian manufacturers.

Mr Pinneri said, “SPC Ardmona must become globally cost competitive, which is why we need to invest in technology and innovation to create new healthy fruit and vegetable snacks.”

SPC Ardmona once owned exclusive rights to the “Goulburn Valley” brand.  However the juice division was shifted several years ago into the Coca Cola Amatil beverages marketing division. The current restructuring of the remaining SPC Ardmona business involves a commitment to  innovation and investment in new  processing and packaging technologies.  It is hoped this will facilitate the development of new  niche-market products and will help secure the  profitability of  the core SPC Ardmona business.