Specialising in the human experience of Living with prostate cancer – warts and all

Call for united approach to loss of tobacco industry

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Nationals Member for Benalla, Bill Sykes has called for a united approach by Local, State & Federal Government to help Myrtleford and surrounding communities, including the King Valley, absorb and recover from the shock announcement by British American Tobacco to cease tobacco purchases from Australia.

The news broke last Friday and was reported thoroughly in Saturday’s Border Mail

Tobacco step is huge challenge for Myrtleford and its citizens
Border Mail Editorial
WHAT should have been a time of hope and excitement for Myrtleford residents has become a nightmare. The horror has come in the form of British American Tobacco Australasia and its decision to end the tobacco industry in the Ovens Valley. – full story…

Last Gasp
Town rocked by news its $90m heart, soul is dead
MYRTLEFORD residents are in shock following news yesterday the town’s $90 million a year tobacco industry is doomed. – full story…

$10m offered to end an industry
Growers have future spelled out at co-op get-together
MORE than 130 growers were called to an urgent meeting at the Tobacco Co-operative of Victoria yesterday where it was announced that British American Tobacco… – full story…

Mirabella hopes for a positive grower result
BY DI THOMAS (Border Mail)
MEMBER for Indi Sophie Mirabella will not comment on the possibility of a Federal Government exit package for North East tobacco growers until the completion… – full story…

Long history on the Border
(Border Mail)
TOBACCO has long been grown in the Ovens, King and Kiewa valleys but other early Border plantations were in the Murray Valley. – full story…

Dr Sykes said, “I will be working with Local, State & Federal Governments to ensure immediate short to medium term support for the families directly affected plus the creation of long term job opportunities.

“The Federal Government’s Regional Partnerships Program has an excellent track record in similar situations, for example, D&R Henderson Benalla received $800,000 to re establish a timber factory after fire gutted the original factory and put 65 jobs at risk.

“The State Government’s Regional Development team can also assist with skills auditing, re training and assisting new businesses get started.

Dr Sykes continued, “In the short term, my recent call for more financial counselling support becomes even more important and urgent. I would also suggest that other counselling and support services will need to be ramped up with a strong face-to-face presence in Myrtleford and Mt Beauty.

“Medium term support could be in the form of State Government support for projects such as general weed control and beautification of the rail trail as well as funding for roads and bridges.

“A project with long term benefits would be for the State Government to honour an earlier commitment to connect Myrtleford, Porepunkah & Bright to natural gas to make the Ovens Valley more attractive to new and existing industries.”

Dr Sykes concluded, “This news, on top of the frost damage to the tobacco crops, depressed wine prices and the forthcoming dry times will test even the most resilient people. Let’s make sure all levels of Government and the community pitch in to overcome this challenge.”


Written by Greg Naylor

25 September 2006 at 2:02 pm

Posted in media release

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