Put local first

By Country News on March 08, 2017
  • Put local first

    Premier Daniel Andrews launching the snack line at SPC

State Member for Shepparton Suzanna Sheed turned to Twitter to blast a Victorian hospital for buying imported processed fruit over our own suppliers.

Ms Sheed was touring the Epworth Hospital in Melbourne last week and was angered to see imported diced fruit served to patients.

‘‘Disappointed to see major hospital in Melbourne feeding patients diced fruit from China,’’ she tweeted.

Although Epworth is a private hospital, Ms Sheed said she wanted large organisations, including government departments, to favour Australian food over cheaper imports when it came to procurement.

‘‘If everybody did it we would have amazing results,’’ she said.

‘‘I always think of it in terms of SPC, the last of our Australian fruit processing brands — when they were in trouble we encouraged people to buy Australian and it made quite the difference.’’

An SPC spokesperson said about half the canned fruit purchased in the last half of 2013 for Victorian hospitals was Australian, but the state would benefit from greater investment.

‘‘Our state would benefit by being a bit smarter with money invested in companies like SPC, by investing in quality products, which is in turn reinvested in Victorian jobs,’’ a spokesperson said.

There have been several calls in recent months for the Victorian Government to favour local suppliers, such as SPC, when considering key contracts.

State Member for Northern Victoria Wendy Lovell said last year that Premier Daniel Andrews should ‘‘put his money where his mouth is’’ to protect regional jobs by supporting local food for key contracts.

Ms Sheed did not urge the Victorian Government to go as far as forcing government departments to buy local, but wanted it to be strongly encouraged.

‘‘It always comes down to cost, and it may affect the hospital budget,’’ she said.

‘‘In the long run it could mean the difference between factories closing down.’’

—Barclay White

By Country News on March 08, 2017

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