Nationals MPs seek assurances on MG plants
Gippsland Nationals MPs have sought an urgent meeting with the incoming CEO of dairy processor Murray Goulburn over the future of plants at Maffra and Leongatha.
The Nationals Member for Gippsland East, Tim Bull, Member for Gippsland South, Danny O’Brien and Member for Eastern Victoria, Melina Bath, have written to new CEO, Ari Mervis, seeking assurances that neither plant will close or be downgraded.
This follows recent media speculation on potential plant closures across the state which have not been denied by Murray Goulburn.
Mr Bull said Murray Goulburn has been through a difficult 12 months but it was important to maintain its employment footprint in Gippsland.
“We appreciate that Murray Goulburn has reportedly lost significant supplier volume over recent months and this will make management of the company’s assets more difficult. However, we have written to seek assurances that the factories in Maffra and Leongatha will remain open into the future.
“Gippsland is in the grip of some significant economic challenges with the closure of Hazelwood Power Station and a threat hanging over the Australian Sustainable Hardwoods timber mill at Heyfield. We don’t need more bad economic news.”
Mr O’Brien said there was already concern in the South Gippsland and Wellington Shires about empty shops and job prospects.
“We have sought guarantees about the plants from the company informally over recent months but such assurances have not been forth-coming.
“As representatives of dairy farmers and workers we appreciate this is a fine line. It is important for Murray Goulburn to get its costs down to ensure the most value is provided through to milk prices, however we hope that this can be achieved without rationalising production facilities or jobs in country areas.”
Ms Bath said Murray Goulburn’s reputation has taken a significant battering in the past 12 months and any decision to close or rationalise plants would further harm the company’s name.
“We strongly support the Co-op and hope that it will recover from its current difficulties and that any savings that need to be achieved can be done in other parts of the supply chain or at head office. We need a strong Co-op for the dairy industry and for towns in our communities.”