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Cadbury visitor centre to close

unnamed-1Hobart’s Cadbury chocolate factory will close its visitor centre in a move that will cost 11 jobs.

The tourism experience at the confectionary maker’s Claremont base was to be the beneficiary of a $16 million federal grant, promised by Tony Abbott during the 2013 election campaign.

But in March the factory announced it would have to renege on the deal, unable to stump up its $50 million share.

And on Thursday came the announcement the visitor centre will close.

“This is very disappointing news,” Tasmanian State Growth Minister Matthew Groom told reporters, adding that his colleagues had entered emergency talks with Cadbury parent company, Mondelez.

“We’ve had discussions with the company about whether there is some form of other visitor experience.”

Hobart-based federal independent MP, Andrew Wilkie, said news of the job losses came as a blow for an area that already suffered from high unemployment.

“I would have thought Cadbury could have shown greater loyalty to the staff that have been loyal to it,” he said in a statement.

Tasmania’s Labor opposition called on the state and federal governments to fight to keep the visitor centre open.

“I’m confident that a private operator could take on the visitor experience at Cadbury, but it needs the backing of the federal government,” state opposition tourism spokesman Scott Bacon said.

Groom said Mondelez had invested some $100 million over three years in the Claremont Cadbury facility.

“They are absolutely committed to a strong and ongoing future here in Hobart,” he said.

Mondelez has been contacted for comment.


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