Manufacturing sector is losing its fizz


Soft drinks supplier Coca-Cola Amatil (CCA) says the Australian manufacturing sector needs help in coping with the high value of the Australian dollar or faces extinction.

"In my view, the Australian dollar is too high," said CCA managing director Terry Davis.

"There is a real issue in this country about the manufacturing base.

"And we hope to have constructive dialogue with the various governments in terms of how we get a level playing platform for Australian manufacturers because, ultimately, we won't have any otherwise."

CCA recently announced that it would consolidate three of its SPC Ardmona (SPCA) manufacturing sites in Victoria into two, axing 150 jobs. SPCA is a vegetable and fruit processor.

Mr Davis said SPCA had battled years of drought and floods and the challenge of cheap, lower-quality imports that had flooded the market as a consequence of the rise in the Australian dollar.

The strong Australian dollar had also reduced SPCA's export business by more than half in recent years.

"The continuing impact of the Australian dollar led us to undertake a comprehensive review of the business," Mr Davis said.

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