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02 May 2017

Mayor talking to all levels of government over milk factory closure

Indigo Shire Mayor Cr Jenny O'Connor said she was shocked at the sudden news the Kiewa-Tangambalanga Murray Goulburn manufacturing plant will close and that 140 staff will lose their jobs.

Murray Goulburn announced today that three factories will close with the Kiewa-Tangambalanga factory being closed, in stages, by the first quarter of the 2019 financial year, and starting the first stage in August.

"The impact of this decision on families and the Kiewa-Tangambalanga community will be absolutely devastating," Cr O'Connor said.

"I have been in touch with all levels of government this morning on this, and government agencies, to see what assistance we can work out for the staff and their families."

Cr O'Connor said the knock-on effect of this news would have far-reaching ramifications both economically and socially.

"Murray Goulburn is our second largest food manufacturer and employer in Indigo Shire. The manufacturing sector provides 29% of all jobs in Indigo Shire," Cr O'Connor said.

"The dairy industry has significant economic and employment linkages both up and down the value chain from the processor. We are still quantifying what the impacts will be of the closure of the Murray Goulburn processing plant.

"However, the impact of taking manufacturing out of the dairy equation in a community is potentially up to many millions of dollars. When you have a supply chain like this, for every dollar a dairy farmer produces, there is an extra dollar generated via the supply chain. When you add in a manufacturing plant, there is another dollar generated.

"So, in effect, every dollar a dairy farmer generates, there is a flow on effect of a further $2 generated.

"The first point to make is the loss of 140 jobs in the local community but there is also the impact of spending in the local community on food and services and the knock on effect on other industry.

"The Murray Goulburn plant is the 'engine' of the Kiewa-Tangambalanga community generating valuable economic activity. The town was built around it. It's been there for 125 years. Its closure will have a devastating impact on everyone."

Cr O'Connor said the most important thing to focus on was how this closure would impact on the staff and their families.

"I have spoken to Senator Bridget McKenzie this morning and the Member for Indi Cathy McGowan, as well as state MPs and we will be establishing a strategic partnership across all levels of government and all political parties to look at ways to best support the Kiewa-Tangambalanga community."


For further information:
Contact Cr Jenny O'Connor
Phone 0417 126 409