AUSVEG Chair expresses dismay at Golden Circle decision to relocate production at beetroot cannery from Queensland to New Zealand
AUSVEG Chairman John Brent today expressed his dismay at the decision by Golden Circle’s parent company Heinz Australia to relocate production of beetroot from facilities in Northgate in Brisbane to its facility in Hastings, New Zealand. “This is a massive blow for vegetable growers who supply to these cannery facilities and will cause significant heartache for beetroot growers. I am very worried for the sake of the growers and the huge effect this is likely to have on the Australian industry,” Mr Brent said.
“The decision by Heinz Australia is another example of growers and their livelihoods being considered expendable just to cut costs. It’s a big blow for the industry and it represents an ongoing threat to our national food security that we need to take seriously from a national supply perspective.”
“With the cost of labour often much lower in our competitor countries, the appeal of setting up offshore facilities at the expense of local suppliers is only going to become more and more appealing to companies in future.”
“This decision highlights the ongoing issues Australia has in terms of cost competitiveness when it comes to labour.”
The Northgate cannery in Queensland produces over around 180,000 tonnes per year of canned pineapple and beetroot, fruit juices and cordials, jams and sauces.
AUSVEG is the national peak industry body representing the interests of around 9,000 vegetable and potato growers.
Mr Brent said that he was particularly dismayed at the decision as it went against origins of the Golden Circle company as a grower cooperative.
“Golden Circle began as a grower cooperative so it is very sad that the interests of growers and the broader national interest are being put second. This will cause substantial pain for the beetroot producers who supply to Golden Circle in Queensland,” Mr Brent said.
“Heinz Australia have announced that the decision will mean the loss of 160 jobs in Brisbane, 140 jobs in northern Victoria and 38 jobs in New South Wales. But this will also have a significant effect on suppliers, with Australian vegetable growers already under significant pressure to maintain viable operations amongst a growing tide of imports and rising input costs.”
MEDIA CONTACT: William Churchill, Communications and Public Affairs Manager, AUSVEG
Phone: (03) 9822 0388, Mobile: 0411 166 748, Email: firstname.lastname@example.org