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Woolworths should honour its word

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Senator the Hon Fiona Nash Minister for Regional Development Minister for Local Government and Territories Minister for Regional Communications

Deputy Leader of The Nationals

Wednesday, 9 November 2016

Woolworths should honour its word

 Woolworths cashed in on goodwill around SPC with a 48 per cent increase in sales of tinned fruit after announcing a five year, $70 million deal with the Aussie cannery  Woolworths has now dumped SPC as tinned tomato supplier  Woolworths cannot play havoc with the lives of farmers, cannery workers and businesses

who made decisions based on that deal: Woolworths must keep its word

Deputy Nationals Leader and Minister for Regional Development Fiona Nash has called on supermarket giant Woolworths to honour its five-year deal with Australian-owned cannery SPC.

“Woolworths was happy to cash in on the good publicity when it announced a five-year, $70 million deal with SPC when national attention was focused on the issue. Woolworths said its sales of tinned fruit increased 48 per cent when it switched to SPC.

“Now we learn Woolworths has already dumped SPC as a tinned tomato supplier for its Woolworths brand and we read the supermarket is in talks with SPC over the future of supplying other lines to the supermarket.

“Woolworths should honour its word.

“As Regional Development Minister I often say businesses and country communities need certainty. Promising a five-year deal and then reviewing it or ripping it up midway through destroys certainty. It leaves businesses and families no confidence. It plays havoc with the lives of farmers and factory families who’ve made important decisions based on Woolworths’ word.

“The Goulburn Valley fruit grower, the cannery worker’s family and countless family businesses in Shepparton including tradies, newsagents and bakeries have all made decisions with Woolworths $70 million word in the front of their minds. To rip the rug out from under them would be appalling corporate behaviour.

“It’s critical Woolworths keeps its promise to farmers, the Australian public, the people of Shepparton and the media.”

Woolworths had claimed in a media release its deal with SPC was a win for “farmers, customers and the Australian economy”. See Woolworths media release below:

Woolworths extends support for SPC and fruit growers

Woolworths supermarkets have today announced a deal for iconic Australian fruit processor SPC Ardmona to supply all Select brand deciduous fruit for the next five years in a win for farmers, customers and the Australian economy. It builds on a deal announced last year when Woolworths brought supply of these products back to the Australia supplier and will see tinned apricots, peaches, apples and pears supplied by SPC for the long-term. Importantly, this new arrangement includes additional supply of tinned tomatoes for the Select range, which means even more growers stand to benefit. Tjeerd Jegen, Managing Director of Supermarkets and Petrol, said he was pleased the $70 million deal would give the company, their workers and growers some long term certainty. “We know that our customers want to buy good Australian grown products and this deal will see Woolworths Select brand tinned fruit continue to be grown in Australia by Australians. "Following our switch to SPC supplied canned fruit, sales increased by 48 per cent. This is the first time we have seen growth in the canned fruit category for some time. "This brings certainty to SPC and the farmers who supply our select brand so they can now invest in their businesses with the confidence of knowing Woolworths will stand beside them for the long-term. "Woolworths will of course continue to sell SPC’s brands like SPC, Goulburn Valley and Ardmona. Together this means SPC Ardmona will be Woolworths’ largest supplier of tinned fruit.”

Minister Nash said buying Australian meant Australia’s clean green farmers would prosper.

“Australia has the best food safety and environmental standards in the world. Most other countries do not have the environmental and food safety standards we have.

“Buying Australian means clean green food for you and jobs for Australia’s regions. It means prosperous Australian farmers.”

Media contact: Les White 0409 805 122