Tobacco company Philip Morris has announced that it will shut its Moorabbin factory by the end of 2014, blaming local regulations.
The ABC and others report that 180 jobs will be lost due to the decision, though the 550 positions at the company’s local headquarters would be unaffected.
The factory has been open for almost 60 years, Philip Morris said, and was the company’s first affiliate outside the US.
Australian production would be moved to South Korea.
The company blamed local fire safety laws for making export more difficult. Federal laws changed in 2010, making it a requirement that cigarettes would extinguishthemselves without a smoker continuing to drag on them.
Philip Morris’s regional managing director John Gledhill said, “In spite the introduction of plain packaging and the continued growth in illicit trade, PML’s volumes were stable in 2013.”
However, laws on flammability had reduced the chance of export.
“Any significant export opportunity restricted by Australian government regulations, our Moorabbin factory is significantly under-utilised, operating at less than half of its currently installed capacity,” explained Gledhill, according to The Australian.
Federal opposition leader Chris Bowen said that the federal government had failed to deal properly with the difficulties facing manufacturers.
Bowen claimed, “This government seems more devoted to spinning their way into May’s budget than they are determined to assist workers affected by change.”