Australia’s opposition party has called for Cadbury’s A$16m government funding to upgrade its Claremont plant to be redirected to West Coast development projects.
Last year, the Australian coalition government pledged A$16m (US $14m) towards a A$66 million (US $59m) upgrade of Mondelēz International’s Cadbury factory in Claremont, Tasmania, just outside Hobart.
Redirect funds, says opposition
Tasmanian Labor leader Bryan Green said the fund could be better spent on job creation projects in the region. “These projects could get underway now if the Federal Government redirects the Cadbury money which is already in the Budget,” he said.
Eric Abetz, coalition employment minister called the call “a cheap headline on the back of people’s misfortune on the West Coast”, in an interview with ABC News today.
In February, the coalition government rejected a A$25m (US $23m) request from from fruit processor SPC Ardmona to help keep the company stay operational, but said it would continue its support for Cadbury.
Support for tourism
The federal government initially said that its Cadbury backing was intended to support manufacturing, foster innovation and boost tourism in Tasmania.
Part of the funding was also planned to go towards cocoa growing trials in Northern Australia, which the majority Liberal party said marked “the first step toward producing a 100% Australian-made chocolate bar”.
Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott said in later interviews this February that the Cadbury funding was for meant to create tourism infrastructure by re-establishing chocolate tours at the plant.
The factory upgrade is expected to up Cadbury’s capacity by 30% to 70,000 metric tons per year.