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Murray Goulburn has given its strongest indication yet that processing plants due to close next year could be sold to other manufacturers, a development that coincides with the closure of two of its international offices.
A spokesman for the dairy giant said yesterday the company did not plan to mothball its Rochester, Kiewa and Edith Creek factories, and was already in touch with parties interested in acquiring sites earmarked for closure.
But the company would first relocate useful equipment to plants that remain operational, he said.
“Once this assessment process has been completed, we will be in a position to better consider future options for the sites,” he said.
The comments come after Murray Goulburn sold the cheese production line from its former Leitchville site, seven years after the regional Victorian factory ceased operating.
The company will also close its Singapore and Dubai offices this month, leaving seven more employees out of work.
Distribution in the two markets would instead be handled from Melbourne and China, a spokesman said.
“These changes enable us to focus on customer service, be more responsive to market requirements and leverage the subject matter expertise our teams in Australia and China possess,” he said.
The international job losses add to the 360 employees already awaiting redundancy when the doomed Victorian and Tasmanian plants close next year.
The first round of jobs cuts are expected to take effect within a fortnight.
After the closure announcements this year, Rochester workers, politicians and business leaders immediately called on MG to sell the factory, saying it risked becoming a “white elephant” at the heart of their town.