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Ballarat hurt by manufacturing job losses

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Ballarat and its surrounds have suffered a loss of industrial activity recently, as tough economic conditions force companies to cut staff or reduce their hours.

Goodman Fielder announced earlier this week that it would shut its Ballarat factory by November, with baking shifted to its Forestville and Clayton facilities and 34 jobs shed.

“This is a difficult but necessary decision as part of our ongoing strategy to create a more efficient manufacturing footprint in our baking business,” the company’s managing director  in Australia Andrew Hipperson said, according to the Ballarat Courier.

Rail manufacturer UGL has also announced 11 redundancies in the suburb, with weak demand and the economic downturn blamed.

"The company is working hard to secure new orders and looks forward to the ongoing support of its workforce and customers," UGL said in a statement about the cuts.

The Ballarat Trades and Labour Council has blamed the Victorian government for not bringing train maintenance forward and protecting the jobs.

"As a government, they're in a position where they could make a decision to save jobs in the rail industry or alternatively if they choose not to make those decisions those job losses fall directly on their heads," the BTLC’s Brett Edgington told the local ABC station.

The ABC reports that AME Systems at Ararat, about 90 km away by the Western Highway, was reducing the number of days open at its factory to four.

"It completely revolves around the market conditions, so if we saw an upward trend in sales, that would allow us to negotiate to try to go back to a five day week," general manager Dean Pinniger told the ABC.

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