Fonterra has ruled-out closing other dairy processing sites in Australia after falling milk supply forced the New Zealand company to close its factory at Dennington in south-west Victoria.
The company’s managing director in Australia René Dedoncker told the ABC the closure of the Dennington factory “strengthens” the rest of its infrastructure.
“We will redirect milk to higher value products, it will mean that we can robust our other sites it will mean we can underpin an even stronger milk price as a result,” he said.
“It strengthens our ability to be part of dairy and to take the industry forward.”
Mr Dedoncker stressed Fonterra would assist the 98 staff and their families who would be affected when the site winds-up in November.
The company had been reviewing its operations as the amount of milk being supplied by dairy farmers was falling.
National Union of Workers lead organiser Neil Smith said that the closure came as a complete surprise to workers at the factory.
He said workers expected that there could be some cut backs on some shifts but not a complete shutdown.
“We’re hoping to hold talks with the company so that maybe some people can be redeployed to the Cobden site.
“This is going to be devastating for this community and this is the problem that we’re find with the dairy industry, obviously these processors are all in regional areas and the communities rely on them.”