Australian-owned businesses

Australian-Owned Businesses Are a Dying Breed

Over the past few decades, Australian businesses have been shut down or sold off in droves.

Jobs and businesses that were once Aussie owned are slowly but surely slipping out of our hands and into the pockets of international giants.

Only a small number of local brands have been able to keep their head above water in this competitive market.  As such, the small victories are cause for celebration.

The Violet Crumble bar, previously owned by South Australian company Rowntree Hoadley, came full circle and returned to Aussie ownership this week.

Swiss food giant Nestlé has owned the Aussie brand since 1985. But after some negotiations and a grant from the South Australian government, family-owned company Robern Menz was able to retrieve the business.

The buy-back has created 30 new jobs at the factory in Adelaide’s east.

Menz’s CEO, Phil Sims said the move would ‘bring one of Australia’s most iconic and favourite snacks back to Australian ownership.’

No doubt, this is a positive step forward. But there is no way to sugar-coat the dismal success rate of most Aussie businesses and suppliers.

You might not know that Peter’s ice cream was sold to European food giant R&R in 2014.

Or that Arnott’s, which came from humble beginnings in Newcastle, was sold to US food giant Campbell Soup Company in 1997.

Vegemite is Australian though, right?

Even the quintessential Australian spread, Vegemite, hasn’t been Australian owned since 1935.

American multinational company Mondelez had control of the brand until last year, when Melbourne-owned business Bega Cheese agreed to buy it back in a deal worth AU$460 million.

After almost 80 years, Vegemite was moved back into Australian hands along with previously Aussie-owned peanut butter spreads, in an effort to recover nationally treasured brands. As stated by Bega’s executive chairman, Barry Irvin:

We want our peanut butter and Vegemite to be hyper local — that’s what the public wants and deserves.’

Despite this recovery effort, Dick Smith, whose own franchise went under in 2016, believes the problem is only going to get worse.

When speaking about US online retailer Amazon, Smith argued that the rise of international competitors would ‘strangle the big businesses and destroy them’, resulting in lost jobs.

They are incredibly cunning, the greed is unlimited, and they are in control of everything they are doing,’ Smith observed.

So as Aussie brands continue to fall like dominos under foreign control, there’s no doubt that if we don’t keep our guard up, the Aussie-owned kangaroo stamp too, could become a thing of the past.

Katherine Johnson

Katherine Johnson

Katie Johnson is a skilled writer for The Australian Tribune. Majoring in Media and Communications at the University of Melbourne, Katie is passionate about delivering quality news stories that are honest, confronting and completely independent.

Katie is interested in national and international politics and the latest innovations in technology.

Comments: 1

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  1. It’s very sad to see Australia not protect Australian companies in the name of Free Trade or whatever label you want to pin on it. Seems to me there is an agenda at play with the multi-nationals being able to buy off our lawmakers at will and no one is accountable. All profits are sent back to tax havens in the name of “Royalties” and successive governments just don’t care, preferring to screw the hard-working small business person. Next time you pull into a paid parking spot in Sydney, Melbourn, Brisbane spare a thought for the Indian Family who privately owns most of the car parks, you may want to catch a bus, train or walk rather than gift tax free money to this bunch of parisites.