Dairy processor Murray Goulburn has announced that it will close three factories, resulting in the loss of hundreds of jobs.
The processor will close factories in Edith Creek in northern Tasmania, and Rochester and Kiewa in northern Victoria.
The closures will be staggered, beginning with the closure of the Edith Creek factory at the end of this year. This will be followed by the closure of the Rochester factory in early 2018 and Kiewa in the second half of 2018.
Murray Goulburn also announced it would cancel its unpopular milk supply support package (MSSP), which was introduced as a means for dairy farmers to repay the money they owed when the company cut milk prices last year. In addition, the company has altered its profit sharing mechanism in order to retain its forecast farmgate milk price of $4.95/kg of milk solids.
Industry sources have praised this move, with United Dairyfarmers of Victoria president Adam Jenkins stating that it offers dairy farmers genuine hope.
However, the factory closures are expected to have an immense impact on employees and their communities, with many potentially being forced to relocate to find work.