There is a silver lining for almost 40 people who lost their jobs at Cobram’s Murray Goulburn plant last week.By Jessica Grimble
There is a silver lining for almost 40 people who lost their jobs at Cobram’s Murray Goulburn plant last week.
A new agribusiness near Cobram will soon offer 50 new job opportunities — and the business owner wants to talk to those displaced from the milk processing factory about their options.
Moira Shire Council also plans to activate its employment response plan — which involves industry officials, advisers and businesses offering advice and help to those affected — in coming weeks.
Business and innovation unit manager Bruce Connolly said diversification in the area meant more opportunities across more industries than was traditionally available.
‘‘From a cultural point of view, fruit and dairy were the mainstays for a long time — but now there is diversification in the area,’’ Mr Connolly said.
‘‘New products are coming in and diversification is helping, so when (employment is impacted) there are alternatives.’’
Mayor Brian Keenan said he was confident the council could help people move forward.
‘‘For Cobram people, particularly after the orchards (cuts to intake at SPC Ardmona), this is a nasty smack to the mouth,’’ Cr Keenan said.
‘‘But we are resilient people and we have fortunately inherited the guts and determination of those who walked before us.’’
Murray Goulburn last week announced 72 jobs cuts across six processing sites — including 38 positions in Cobram.
It comes after the co-operative last year shed 42 jobs at the local factory, which employs about 350 people on average.
A Murray Goulburn representative said the job cuts were intended to improve efficiency, productivity and cost competitiveness.
Staff affected had been informed of the changes and advised that where possible, the co-operative had sought to minimise the impact on its people by looking first to natural attrition, contract and casual positions and then voluntary redundancies.
Operations general manager Keith Mentiplay said the co-operative recognised the changes were difficult for those affected and it was doing everything it could to support staff.
Four jobs would also go between next month and October at Rochester.
Mr Mentiplay said staff would receive entitlements and extra help with out-placement, career transitioning services, financial advice and counselling.
‘‘It is in the best interests of our supplier/shareholders, employees, communities, customers and consumers that MG remains a strong business, able to compete globally and deliver higher farmgate prices,’’ he said.
Federal Member for Murray Sharman Stone said a $14
‘‘The carbon tax did not add one cent of additional production or better capacity to compete against imports or improve our export markets. Nor has it helped save the planet from global warming,’’ Dr Stone said.
‘‘Dairy farmers and the co-op have also been hit by massive increases in refrigerant gas prices which also attract a carbon equivalent tax.’’
The National Union of Workers met with staff on Monday.
Union representatives want Murray Goulburn management to justify the job losses.
National Union of Workers Victorian secretary Tim Kennedy said the cuts had poeple concerned for their future.
Mr Kennedy said the job losses contradicted the positive business deals the co-operative had negotiated recently.
‘‘The decision is a bit troubling for the union, it comes on the back of a recent announcement from the company to pay higher farmgate prices for farmers, which is good and positive for the region,’’ he said.
He said the company had also announced a 10-year supply deal with Coles supermarkets and launched its Devondale milk brand back in to the market — indicating new processing facilities in Sydney and Melbourne would be developed.
‘‘For this to come out of the blue, that there will be more job losses in regional Victoria, it doesn’t fit neatly with the position the company has articulated in recent times of growth and development,’’ Mr Kennedy said.
A car was stolen from the Chemist Warehouse carpark in Shepparton on Saturday while the owner was shopping for Christmas presents.
After a tennis career spanning 62 years, of which the last 35 years have been as a coach, Yarrawonga's Jon Coleman is set to retire at the end of 2013.
The recent Kyabram Master Pairs, played over six days with crack sides from near and far, attracted some talented bowlers eager to win the prestige event.
'Suttonsville', a minitature version of Echuca-Moama made out of gingerbread at Moama's Sutton Bakery, has a growing number of admirers.
Three Goornong Fire Brigade firefighters recently completed a CFA course on safety surrounding urban firefighting and using breathing apparatuses.
Kyabram Lawn Tennis Club’s annual junior singles tournament again attracted good numbers from across the district.
But have opponents given up the fight?
Tocumwal Pre-School students are proudly flying their KITE at the Tocumwal Lions Community Hostel.
Tooborac Fire Brigade visited Tooborac Primary School last Tuesday to help the school complete its bushfire emergency management plan.
Residents urged to renew fruit fly baits to support local orchards.
A Korean company has a proposal with the NSW Government to built a $90 million ethanol plant in Deniliquin.
SPC Ardmona, is sending eight containers loaded with $250,000 of fruit and vegetables to cyclone ravaged Philippines.
The hunt is on for a buyer for Benalla and Mansfield Toyota after the business went into receivership last fortnight.
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