180 jobs up in smoke with Philip Morris to shut Moorabbin factory

Tobacco
company Philip Morris has announced that it will shut its Moorabbin factory by
the end of 2014, blaming local regulations.

The ABC and
others report that 180 jobs will be lost due to the decision, though the 550
positions at the company’s local headquarters would be unaffected.

The factory
has been open for almost 60 years, Philip Morris said, and was the company’s first
affiliate outside the US.

Australian
production would be moved to South Korea.

The company
blamed local fire safety laws for making export more difficult. Federal laws
changed in 2010, making it a requirement that cigarettes would extinguishthemselves without a smoker continuing to drag on them.

Philip
Morris’s regional managing director John Gledhill said, “In spite the introduction of plain
packaging and the continued growth in illicit trade, PML’s volumes were stable
in 2013.”

However,
laws on flammability had reduced the chance of export.

“Any significant export opportunity restricted by
Australian government regulations, our Moorabbin factory is significantly
under-utilised, operating at less than half of its currently installed
capacity,” explained Gledhill, according to The Australian.

Federal
opposition leader Chris Bowen said that the federal government had failed to
deal properly with the difficulties facing manufacturers.

Bowen
claimed, “This government seems more devoted to spinning their way into May’s
budget than they are determined to assist workers affected by change.”

Image: Reuters