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Threat of cheap imports: Ballarat workers rally for local potato processing jobs

Union delegates are demanding immediate action from the federal government to protect regional jobs from the threat of cheap imports. Alex Ford reports for The Courier.

Rallying at the Ballarat McCain processing plant on Friday morning with workers, McCain representatives, and federal Ballarat MP Catherine King, AMWU state secretary Tony Mavromatis said federal authorities needed to take the issue seriously before the market was flooded with European products.

“I’m not sure whether it’s tariffs or subsidies, we just want the federal government to do something, take it seriously and do something for local manufacturing and local jobs – don’t sit there and wait for it to happen, get out there and do something about it,” he said.

“We don’t want the farmers to close their farms and not have the ability to use them in the future. Supermarkets need to be accountable, stand up and support local farmers and local jobs.”

In a statement, federal Trade Minister Simon Birmingham said “we are not aware of any compelling evidence at this time to back-up these claims, but are continuing to discuss the matter with AUSVEG and other industry groups”.

McCain delegate Paul Lavery said consumers needed to help put pressure on supermarkets and businesses – the market was already “completely saturated”.

Source: Read the full report by Alex Ford in The Courier here
Photo: Action now: McCain worker and AMWU delegate Paul Lavery outside the factory on Friday. Picture: Lachlan Bence

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