Cement Australia blames taxes for Kandos factory closure

Cement Australia has blamed government taxes and regulations for causing the closure of its Kandos, New South Wales, manufacturing facility, affecting the jobs of 98 employees.

Sixty-four workers will lose their jobs as the plant closes over the coming months; 34 workers will be offered another role within the company’s other manufacturing facilities in Gladstone (Queensland), Railton (Tasmania) and Bulwer Island (Queensland).

Cement Australia CEO and managing director, Chris Leon, told Manmonthly.com.au that government taxes are putting increasing pressure on manufacturing businesses. The carbon tax will aggravate this in the future. 

“The decision is not directly related to the carbon tax, however current regulation and government imposts are an increasing burden on manufacturing in Australia and this is a major concern for trade exposed industries like the cement industry. The carbon tax will exacerbate this,” Leon said.

Cement Australia, together with the Cement Industry Foundation, rallied government to ease pressure on the business in the lead-up to the closure – which was announced last week.

“The Cement Industry Foundation and Cement Australia have been consistent in highlighting to all politicians the increasing burden of regulation and government imposts on manufacturing, particularly trade exposed industries,” said Leon.

The Kandos plant has reportedly been in trouble for a number of years, despite Cement Australia investing a large sum of money in to production and staffing improvements. 

“It has been a challenge for some years to operate the Kandos plant viably,” Leon told Manmonthly.com.au

“In 2007, Cement Australia spent $10M improving the plant and stabilising the workforce due to a growing skills shortage. Unfortunately, despite these measures and continuing to work together with their people at Kandos, the plant is no longer viable.”

The Cement Australia board made the decision to close the Kandos plant last Tuesday, and informed its staff members on Thursday.

The cement manufacturer is now focussing on its employees, attempting to ease some of the pain as some of them are transitioned to other facilities.  

Those not lucky enough to secure another position within the company will be offered counselling services.

“Our first concern was communicating with our people at Kandos. Now we are focusing on helping them through this difficult time as best we can by providing support services for them and their families,” said Leon.

“This includes information about the training options we will be funding, financial planning advice for the families and relocation assistance for the 34 people we have been able to offer new roles in other locations.”

Cement Australia’s remaining three sites are reportedly world-class facilities, for which the company places a strong emphasis on continuous improvement. 

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