THE health union says the NSW Government has
THE health union says the NSW Government has "abandoned" local milk supplier Norco and to source milk from Queensland. Marc Stapelberg

LOCAL JOBS: Why it's so important to support Norco

I CAN see both sides of the argument when it comes to the great milk debate engulfing the Northern New South Wales Local Health District and Norco.

On the one hand, the health service was likely following the rules when it comes to competitive tendering on this service.

After all, we all have to make savings, and if one milk service is cheaper than another, then its beholden on organisations to ensure taxpayer dollars are spent wisely.

If it means the difference between saving some dollars on milk, or axing a front line health services job, then I know which one I would be choosing.

But a lot of these assumptions are based on us having a level playing field in regional areas and when it comes to that, we just don't.

So I applaud Lismore MP Thomas George's efforts to intervene on Norco's behalf, because things are not even in regional areas.

Supporting local suppliers should be front and centre of what we do in this country.

Shopping locally in this increasingly global competitive market is necessary on occasions to support local jobs and ensure our towns, villages and cities remain viable into the future.

Norco may not be the cheapest brand of milk in the fridge, but it is a quality product.

And every time I pass a Norco-branded farm gate on my way around the Northern Rivers I feel a little surge of pride.

Apart from The Northern Star, I think Norco is one of the longest continuous businesses based in this region.

If that shopping list of reasons is not enough to reverse this decision, then the State Government is not serious about supporting regional Australia.

Governments of all persuasions often talk about 'fixing' regional Australia's problems. Here is a pretty quick fix waiting to happen.