Cadbury gives up on $16 million government grant after struggling to meet criteria; Senator Ricky Muir defends penalty rates: Midday Roundup

Cadbury gives up on $16 million government grant after struggling to meet criteria; Senator Ricky Muir defends penalty rates: Midday Roundup

Chocolate giant Cadbury has withdrawn its application for a $16 million funding grant promised by Tony Abbott in the lead up to the 2013 election, saying the business “could not satisfy” the government’s criteria, according to the ABC.

Abbott had promised a $16 million funding to upgrade Cadbury’s Hobart operating plant and allow it to restart factory tours for the public, saying it would boost around 300 jobs by 2017 and encourage Hobart’s tourism sector.

But the chocolate maker said the government had attached a range of demanding conditions to the grant, including that Cadbury increase its production volumes by 20%.

“It reached a point where it was clear that we could not satisfy the grant criteria and it’s for that reason that we’ve decided to withdraw our application,” Amanda Banfield, spokesperson for Cadbury parent company Mondelez International, told the ABC.

Banfield said Cadbury would instead spend $20 million of its own cash to upgrade the plant in a move to “protect” jobs.


Senator Ricky Muir defends penalty rates


Senator Ricky Muir has used his inaugural parliamentary speech to lash out at those who would like to see the end of penalty rates.

Muir, who is a member of the Australian Motoring Enthusiast Party, used his long-awaited maiden speech to describe how he has been “the beneficiary” of penalty rates and would not like to see them go.

“I worked shift work and weekends not for the love of the job but because there was financial incentive to do so,” Muir said.

“That disposable cash ended [up] supporting Australian manufacturers in the aftermarket industry, local businesses, communities and retailers helping create and maintain Australian jobs.”

Muir also gave a stinging rebuke to politicians who thought $20 was “nothing” in the grand scheme of things.

“I have a long history of living at the receiving end of legislative changes, of feeling the squeeze of new, or higher taxes, feeling the pressure and even losing sleep when you realise that the general cost of living just went up a tiny $20 dollars a week,” he said.

“To everyone sitting in this chamber, if you think $20 a week is nothing, or just a pack of cigarettes and or a few beers, you have never lived in the real world.”


Shares down on open


Aussie shares are trading lower once again this morning thanks to the significant drop in iron ore prices.

But Ric Spooner, chief market analyst at CMC Markets, said in a statement all eyes would be on tonight’s US employment data.

“Stock market valuations around the world are now at least to some extent dependant on the low interest rate regime continuing,” Spooner said.

“At this stage, inflation is likely to be the key influence on Fed thinking. This means that data on wage growth could be the most important feature of the US employment data.”

The S&P/ASX200 benchmark was down 28.6 points to 5875.6 points at 11.37am AEDT. On Wednesday, the Dow Jones closed 38.82 points higher, up 0.21% to 18,135.72 points.


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