14 April 2016

Target’s decision a terrible blow for Geelong

Target has been an intrinsic part of Geelong for the past 90 years.  The news of Target’s decision to move its headquarters to Melbourne is a terrible blow to Target employees and their families. My heart goes out to everyone involved with Target – be they employees, contractors or suppliers – at this very difficult time.

 Today, I have been in contact with the Geelong Employment Facilitator, engaged by the Commonwealth Department of Employment, who co-ordinates our $3.1m Geelong Region Job Connections program. Our government is considering ways in which this vital local program might be able to assist Target employees.  

I am very disappointed by the comments of Wesfarmers Chief Executive, Richard Goyder, who suggested there are better staffing options for Target in Melbourne.  We have a highly skilled workforce in Geelong and Mr Goyder should withdraw any suggestion to the contrary.  It is clear that Target’s problems stem from extremely poor management.  Geelong workers should not be paying the price for the way that Wesfarmers has run this business. 

Let’s not forget that Cotton On’s global headquarters, employing some 1,200 people, are based here in Geelong. Today I spoke with Cotton On management who indicated that with the jobs growth at Cotton On this may present Target workers with some opportunities.  

I am also extremely disappointed that Target did not approach the Federal Government for any assistance or support to remain in Geelong.  This news has come as a real shock.

Target must do all it can to minimise job losses and ensure its employees are properly retrained, redeployed and cared for at this very difficult time. 

14 April 2016