Friday, January 31, 2014

Wazza Wonka and the Chocolate Factory

News this week has mostly revolved around cyclone fever, a patriotic war against the ABC, and food processing. The most substantial of these was most likely food processing with a Federal Government decision not to support a subsidy proposal for investment and restructure at the SPC Ardmona plant in Shepparton. SPC is a subsidiary of Coca-Cola Amatil.

It really should be difficult to criticise this decision. However, there are suggestions of a hypocritical contradiction with the recent decision to provide support to the Cadbury chocolate factory in Tasmania. An opinion posted the The Drum provides as good discussion of the issues (warning: ABC) More than one message in SPC decision
However, the big dose of tough love for the ever-demanding Australian business community will likely give little comfort to the recipients of the second message. Taken together, the Cadbury and SPC Ardmona decisions starkly tell voters one thing: some jobs are more equal than others.
Yesterday the Prime Minister rationalised the Coalition's 2013 election campaign decision to support Cadbury with $16 million in assistance as development of "regional tourism infrastructure" and not simply propping up another struggling business. But at the time he seemed particularly focused on the continuing viability of Cadbury in Tasmania and the 200 jobs that the factory upgrade would add to state's depressed economy.
Now a preference to support regional tourism infrastructure doesn't sound like a bad thing for Cairns and FNQ? Indeed it brings to mind previous subsidy support of $495,000 for development of Gallo Dairyland near Malanda, which also included a chocolate content.

This was a not unsubstantial amount and the crowning achievement of Warren Entsch in his previous incarnation as Member for Leichhardt. Gallo has been up for sale and the most recent report doesn't seem to indicate great enthusiasm: Snap up a commercial property gem
Another unique property for sale is a Malanda cheese and chocolate factory attached to Gallo Dairy.
The farm was for sale after being in the Gallo family for three generations, Atherton agent Kevin Ramke said.
"We have it on an internet site in China, but we haven't had any luck," he said.
A quick search hasn't thrown up much remaining information and background on the cheese and chocolate factory but I have never been convinced the subsidy would stack up on an appropriate public interest analysis.

It does seem though that if you are seeking a subsidy then chocolate tourism is a thing!

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