Second chance welcomed

It is the best of news at the best of times.

It is six months now since the workers at Murray Goulburn’s Kiewa factory faced the most uncertain of futures after the announcement that it would close.

That meant 139 people out of a job, a devastating blow for them and their families but also the community of Tangambalanga and surrounding areas.

It could not be overstated just how much of an economic loss that represented, and the way this has the potential to cause long-term harm as people try to find work to ensure they can continue to provide for their families.

But now the decision has been reversed with the announcement that the site would not be shut, instead becoming the base for the production of cream cheese.

While not everyone will have a job, up to 70 people can face the run-up to Christmas in much better spirits.

It has been said repeatedly from all sections of the community just how the closure made no sense.

But rather than just complain about it and express the sorrow this created, so many with the interests of the factory, the wider business and the community dug in and began a fight to bring about a change of heart.

An argument to do so, of course, could not be based on emotion, even with the upset created by that announcement back in May. Instead, the business sense in continuing the Kiewa factory in some form had to be the absolute priority.

And this is what was done.

That is because the fight was never abandoned, with a persistent effort put in by the workers’ union representatives, by Indigo Council – especially mayor Jenny O’Connor – and others from across the community.

This latest move means the factory will continue operating, at the very least, until the sale of Murray Goulburn to Canadian dairy company Saputo.

Murray Goulburn, as has been the company’s way since May, would only say that the closure had been “postponed” because of “a range of commercial considerations”.

It would seem fairly clear though that if the factory was not a viable option, Murray Goulburn would not have taken this step.

Neither would it seem unreasonable for Saputo to see the same positives and keep the factory going well into the future. But for now there is much cause for celebration for what is a tremendous outcome for the region.