PREMIER Mike Rann has expressed his deep concern at today’s decision by Kimberly-Clark Australia (KCA) to scale back production at its Millicent and Tantanoola plants.
“This workforce reduction at such a large regional employer is obviously a real blow, not only for the workers but for the Millicent and wider South-East community.
KCA informed the State Government that nothing could have been done by the Federal or State Government to prevent this decision by its US parent company, as it was part of the Kimberly-Clark’s global restructuring to ensure long-term viability. The Millicent Mill will continue to employ around 370 people.
The State Government has reached an agreement with Commonwealth Innovation Minister, Senator Kim Carr, to establish a new $17m Innovation Investment Fund targeting the affected South East region.
Mr Rann says the focus of the fund will be on manufacturing and related services with the State and Commonwealth Government’s working closely with Kimberly-Clark, unions and the wider community to provide support for the workers.
“Displaced workers will also be supported through Centrelink and Job Services Australia,” Mr Rann says.
“I have been assured by Kimberly-Clark that they will also give workers their full entitlements as well as provide access to outplacement and counselling services.”
“While we are doing all we can to help, I want to encourage employers in the South East who are thinking of expanding to give KCA workers a go.”
“This Government, in conjunction with the Federal Government, has a track record in providing assistance for workers affected by production shutdowns.”
In the case of the closure of the Bridgestone plant, some 78 per cent of workers seeking support were placed as at December 2010.
“Under the job strategy, the State Government is committed to creating 100,000 by 2016 and we will be making every effort to ensure the workers affected by these cuts can return to the workforce as soon as possible,” Mr Rann says.
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