Visiting MPs back SPC

15 Nov 2016 Country News insert, Shepparton VIC (General News) Politicians were out in force last week to reassure the Shepparton community they were behind SPC after the loss of a key Woolworths contract sparked fears for the future of the company. Victorian Agriculture Minister Jaala Pulford toured the SPC plant with State Member for Shepparton Suzanna Sheed and State Member for Northern Victoria Jaclyn Symes to get a first-hand look at the state-of-the-art production line that has been installed recently. Speaking before Woolworths announced its decision to renew the tinned fruit agreement, Ms Pulford said recent events had clearly shocked and angered a lot of people in this community. Theres a bit of a gap to what Woolworths were saying to Victorian consumers in 2014 and what theyve been doing in recent weeks, she said. During much of the tour, the minister got a close look at SPCs $36 million tomato processing plant, that may not be working at full capacity in coming years due to the Woolworths decision. The upgraded processing plant was funded in part by the Victorian Government, as part of a joint investment with parent company Coca-Cola Amatil in 2014. Ms Pulford urged Woolworths to stick with SPC for its supply of canned fruit, which goes into its branded line for the remainder of the five-year agreement. But when the minister was asked if the government would consider using its large buying power to help SPC should it find itself in more trouble, she would not offer a guarantee. She was asked if she would consider using government contracts in food supply for hospitals, to increase sales for the company. We are open to exploring those opportunities, she said. Caption Text: Support for SPC . . . Victorian Agriculture Minister Jaala Pulford with SPC manufacturing general manager Simon Taylor next to the $36 million tomato processing line, which was commissioned early this year. Licensed by Copyright Agency. You may only copy or communicate this work with a licence