VICTORIAN trade minister Wade Noonan turned up the heat on Murray Goulburn to come clean on its future intentions for its Tangambalanga factory on the day before more the 130-plus workers will be retrenched.
Mr Noonan, speaking in Wodonga on Thursday, confirmed cabinet colleague Jaala Pulford in her role as agriculture minister had held recent talks with the company about its plans for the Tangambalanga plant and another at Rochester earmarked for closure.
But Murray Goulburn revealed its decision to sell the Kiewa Country Milk brand and certain assets to a mystery buyer earlier this week.
“I understand there will be some workers retrenched tomorrow and our thoughts are always with workers in that situation,” Mr Noonan said.
“Our department understands there is a bit of interest in acquiring the two factories.
“There has been some recent developments.
“It would be very helpful for Murray Goulburn to be as transparent as they possibly can be.
“I gather there is a level of frustration in the community in relation to that level of transparency.
“If jobs can be retained that obviously becomes the priority.”
National Union of Workers North-East organiser Neil Smith said Murray Goulburn workers were hurting as the plant closure loomed on Friday.
“They’re all disappointed they aren’t going to have jobs any more,” he said.
“These jobs have been around forever and the situation is really bad.
“We’re all just hoping someone can pick things up and give the whole Kiewa Valley region some hope into the future.”
Mr Smith said production could end early Friday morning.
Premier Daniel Andrews said he hoped some Murray Goulburn workers could find another job.
“We know there are some people doing it very tough because of various decisions made by companies,” he said.
“Where we can facilitate the placement and get people the re-training they need, then we stand ready to do that.”
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