IT was news no one wanted to hear a week out from Christmas. The decision by the board of Grain Products Australia to place the company into voluntary administration is a big blow to Tamworth – and a bigger one to the workforce of 60-plus employees and the directors.
The Grain Products Australia site, virtually in the centre of Tamworth, has a long and proud history. While the name has changed several times – twice over the past five years – the business is largely the same as the milling operation which was the birthplace of a former iconic Australian company, Goodman Fielder.
The future of the wheat gluten plant is uncertain. This news is another blow to the manufacturing sector in this country.
It has been a turbulent year for manufacturing with the high Australian dollar hurting businesses operating in international markets. There have been a number of high- profile closures and many more smaller operations which few people know about.
The sluggish economy and other factors have played their part in bringing down a business which no one suspected was in any trouble.
The administrators are talking about selling the business. Let’s hope if that occurs, the new owner can keep the business afloat. But what we do know is that regardless of who owns Grain Products Australia, they will be operating in the same market conditions.
To its credit, the board through its operations manager, has not hidden the problems which have consumed the company. Grain Products Australia knows the business has a special place in Tamworth’s business and industry sector and it has been open about the decision which rocked the plant on Tuesday.
Tamworth can only hope there is a way forward which preserves the business and the jobs.
Grain Products Australia is a big user of outside services and trades – transport, electrical and maintenance – and the purchase of ancillary products to name just a few. The pain being felt by the company will have a ripple effect across a large number of other businesses in the city.
Let’s hope the landing after the administrator’s work is done is as soft as possible.