FEDERAL opposition leader Tony Abbott says a ``quite unusual'' decision to contribute to Cadbury's $66 million expansion of its Hobart factory would boost jobs across the struggling state.
After touring the Claremont factory yesterday morning, Mr Abbott defended the promise to invest $16 million of taxpayer funds in a highly profitable company's venture.
He said he recognised Tasmania's ``special circumstances'' citing the high unemployment rate.
``Occasionally I think it is necessary to offer some judicious help,'' Mr Abbott said.
Cadbury will spend $50 million on the expansion, which will create 200 new jobs and 120 indirect jobs by 2017.
``It will help manufacturing jobs in the South, it will help dairy jobs in the North and it will help tourism jobs all around this state,'' Mr Abbott said.
Cadbury, owned by Kraft, plans to increase production and re-introduce factory tours, which have not been run since 2008 due to health and safety concerns.
Liberal Lyons candidate Eric Hutchinson said an extra 6000 dairy cows would be needed to supply the increase in production.
``This will boost the confidence of our farmers, especially those in the Midlands assessing their irrigation options,'' Mr Hutchinson said.
Deputy prime minister Anthony Albanese, who was also in Hobart yesterday, was asked if Labor would match the commitment.
``We'll look into it,'' Mr Albanese said.
``We haven't been approached about that policy, but what we have done, of course, is put $100 million into the jobs and growth plan.''
The state government had been in negotiations with Cadbury since last year, but Ms Giddings said yesterday the company's plans appeared to have changed since then.