Abbott's Tassie sweetener

Written By miftah nugraha on Rabu, 28 Agustus 2013 | 19.55

OPPOSITION Leader Tony Abbott has defended the Coalition's $16 million pledge to a privately owned Hobart business, saying "Tasmania is a special case".

An Abbott-led government would make the co-investment in the Cadbury chocolate factory as part of a $66 million redevelopment that will allow popular tours at the facility to restart, after they were scrapped in 2008 amid health and safety concerns.

"Occasionally I think it is necessary to offer some judicious help," Mr Abbott told reporters.

He said the island state has the nation's highest unemployment rate and low income levels.

Mr Abbott made the announcement to factory workers today in the electorate of Denison.

The seat is held by independent MP Andrew Wilkie, who is tipped to retain it.

Mr Abbott said the "modest but significant" funding contribution would create more than 300 new jobs and secure 1000 existing positions, while boosting north Tasmania's dairy industry.

"It's quite unusual for a national government to co-invest with a profitable private business, but this co-investment is going to dramatically increase production, dramatically increase exports and dramatically increase employment," Mr Abbott said.

He had a brief tour of the facility, owned by food giant Kraft, watching as the ever-popular Freddo frog chocolate rolled off the production line.

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