NOOSA cannot afford to lose the 60 jobs hanging in the balance with the battle to bring financially embattled Cooroy Mountain Spring Water back on stream, according to local MP Glen Elmes.
Mr Elmes has joined forces with fellow LNP politicians Federal Member for Wide Bay Warren Truss and State Member for Buderim Steve Dickson to pressure company liquidators KordaMentha to consider the impact of any sell-off on the local community.
Mr Elmes and his colleagues were desperate to keep the company out of the hands of a major player like Coca Cola Amatil or similar out-of-town interests that might simply come in and break the soft drink and mineral water assets up and take production out of town.
He recently held detailed talks with company founder Greg Dinsey, who showed him figures that indicated that despite all the turmoil, the operation in Cooroy continued at a profit.
"What Cooroy and the wider community need is not some company that will come in and further concentrate this industry. We need greater diversification in ownership," Mr Elmes said.
"There has already been far too much concentration of ownership in the grocery, fuel and alcohol retail sector.
"KordaMentha needs to understand that Cooroy Mountain Spring Water is a local business, built on the hard work of locals, and deserves to be kept in local hands.
"Jobs at Cooroy Mountain Spring Water need to be protected and the liquidator must consider the merits of offers for the business which will protect those jobs," he said.
Mr Truss said Cooroy Mountain Spring Water was one of Cooroy's largest businesses, and the 60 remaining jobs needed to be secured.
"KordaMentha needs to keep those employees and their families in mind during their deliberations on the company's future," Mr Truss said.
Mr Dickson said Cooroy had suffered from the closure of its timber mill in 2000 and from earlier changes to the dairy industry. The MPs fear that if a Coca Cola Amatil bid succeeded, it would tanker the water to other bottling plants and close the local operations, resulting in significant job losses.
"Cooroy's mountain water is a precious local resource and too valuable to simply be trucked away, returning nothing to the area," Mr Truss said.
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