She had got it into her head that the closure of the plant was somehow linked to her woeful policy of plain cigarette packaging. If she had bothered to look at the statement released by the company, the principal reason for the closure was the regulatory requirement imposed in 2010 for fire resistant cigarettes. This is about attempting to prevent carelessly discarded cigarettes do not lead to fires, including bushfires.
I can just imagine the lame Regulation Impact Statement that provided the rationale for this imposition. Evidently, 75 per cent of cigarettes in a packet must not completely burn if discarded.
The cigarettes that meet this regulation, however, do not appeal to overseas customers, so the company’s export markets were closed off.
Mind you, Tanya may have been listening to ABC radio which did mislead us all by claiming that plain packaging was part of the reason for the plant closure. Well done, Mr Scott – another example of accuracy and impartiality.
As far as I can tell, there is no evidence at all that the plain packaging requirement is having any effect. Cigarette sales are flat (on a marked downward trend) and the one study that dealt with young people taking up smoking could establish no impact of plain packaging. Note also that the apologists such as the Cancer Council are getting nervous, claiming now that an immediate impact was never expected. Sure.
Here is some of the information about the Philip Morris plant closure:
The international tobacco giant has been making cigarettes at its Moorabbin plant for nearly 60 years, but will now shift production for the local market to Korea.
About 180 employees will lose their jobs at the factory, although Philip Morris (PML) says it will still employ about 550 people in its Australian corporate operations, which will remain headquartered in Melbourne.
Philip Morris said the decision was due to a gradual decline in the local market over the past decade and Australian Government regulations introduced in 2010 that required locally made cigarettes to conform to standards that reduced fire risks.
“Despite the introduction of plain packaging and the continued growth in illicit trade, PML’s volumes were stable in 2013,” said the company’s managing director for Australia, John Gledhill.
“However, with any significant export opportunity restricted by Australian Government regulations, our Moorabbin factory is significantly underutilised, operating at less than half of its currently installed capacity.”