Funds to help fac­tory work­ers

Shepparton News - Country News - - OPINION -

Cam­paspe Shire Coun­cil will re­ceive $50 000 from the Vic­to­rian Gov­ern­ment to sup­port more than 100 work­ers who will be af­fected by the clo­sure of Mur­ray Goul­burn’s Rochester milk pro­cess­ing plant.

An­nounced by Agri­cul­ture Min­is­ter Jaala Pul­ford last week, the fund­ing will en­able the coun­cil to un­der­take com­mu­nity eco­nomic devel­op­ment plan­ning.

Cam­paspe Shire Mayor Adrian We­ston said the fund­ing was a ‘‘great start’’ and coun­cil would be fo­cused on not only help­ing work­ers but find­ing a fu­ture for the soon-to-be-empty fac­tory.

‘‘We’ve been meet­ing fairly reg­u­larly to work to­gether with the com­mu­nity, Mur­ray Goul­burn and also the Indigo Shire (the coun­cil re­spon­si­ble for Kiewa, the site of the sec­ond Vic­to­rian fac­tory clo­sure) to de­liver an out­come that doesn’t in­volve empty fac­to­ries in the two cities,’’ he said.

‘‘(An empty fac­tory) is not an out­come that we want and it is cer­tainly loud and clear that we’re do­ing ev­ery­thing to work with Mur­ray Goul­burn and other stake­hold­ers to en­sure we don’t end up with an empty fac­tory in the mid­dle of town.’’

The com­mu­nity eco­nomic devel­op­ment plans will in­volve con­sul­ta­tion with the com­mu­nity and aims to set out a clear di­rec­tion for growth and devel­op­ment, boost­ing lo­cal job prospects and the econ­omy.

The gov­ern­ment also an­nounced a 12-month ex­ten­sion to the Ru­ral Skills Con­nect pro­gram, which aims to fill ru­ral in­dus­try skill gaps, pro­mote re-skilling and pro­vide op­por­tu­ni­ties for trainee­ships in the Mur­ray Dairy re­gion, to sup­port work­ers in Tangam­balanga (Kiewa) and Rochester.

Fac­tory clo­sures in Rochester, Kiewa and Edith Creek in north­ern Tas­ma­nia were an­nounced in May. A staged clo­sure of the Rochester milk pro­cess­ing plant is un­der way, with the fac­tory to close its doors for the fi­nal time next year.

‘‘We’ve just got to wait and see what tran­spires but we are con­tin­u­ing to have con­ver­sa­tions with Mur­ray Goul­burn with a view to work­ing with them to get the best out­come for the com­mu­nity,’’ Cr We­ston said.

Coun­cil will an­nounce fur­ther de­tails and open ex­pres­sions of in­ter­ests for ex­pe­ri­enced con­sul­tants to as­sist with the plan in the com­ing months.

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