Food processing giant Simplot will receive payroll tax rebates from the NSW government over the next three years while the company reviews its operations.
NSW deputy premier, Andrew Stoner announced that Simplot’s Bathurst factory will receive assistance to support upgrades in light of the company’s announcement earlier this year that unsustainable high costs and a highly competitive landscape could see the closure of Simplot’s Bathurst and Devonport plants.
“The Simplot board is due to meet in the coming days to decide on the future of three of its Australian factories which are under review in the face of increasing competitive pressures in the food processing and manufacturing sector,'' Stoner told The Weekly Times Now.
"The Bathurst plant currently employs around 195 full-time equivalent staff and makes a significant contribution to the local economy and to the local community.
"To help relieve some pressure on the plant and the staff who work there, Simplot has been approved for assistance in the form of payroll tax rebates for the next three years, through the NSW Regional Industries Investment Fund.''
The decision to provide assistance to the processor, known for brands such as John West, Edgell, Birds Eye, Leggo’s and Lean Cuisine – was welcomed by NSW Farmers horticulture spokesman, Peter Darley.
"We have been saying for years that manufacturing of Australian food is crucial if our agriculture industry is to survive and to ensure that consumers do not have to rely upon imported food,'' he said.
"This is a small first step but more importantly a good sign that our state government values local food manufacturing, growers and regional communities."