Murray Goulburn (MG) will continue to run its own milk tanker fleet despite cutting the number of its tanker drivers by up to 60, the company says.
Responding to a question about whether the company was considering outsourcing its milk collection, an MG spokesman said it still employed 150 tanker drivers and would continue to provide milk collections via its own fleet and employees.
Seasonal employees would be hired during peak production if required, the spokesman said.
Up to 31 of 60 driver positions to go will be at MG’s Koroit plant with 12 cut from Leongatha and six from Maffra.
Another 11 driver positions will be cut from its northern Victorian plant at Rochester that is scheduled to close in mid-February. MG also plans to close its Kiewa plant in northern Victoria in mid-2018.
The MG spokesman said the company had never intended to use the Koroit plant to process the milk from the northern Victorian plants scheduled for closure and had earlier stated most of it would be processed at its plant at Cobram in northern Victoria.
MG, which had been Australia’s largest milk processor, cut drivers’ jobs after its milk supply plunged following last year’s slashing of farmgate milk prices.
Member for South West Coast Roma Britnell said MG needed to “address the reasons some 400 farmers have decided to no longer supply the company”.
“Until they do I fear there will be even more tough decisions having to be made at both the farm and factory level,” Mrs Britnell said.
She said she would work with the state government to ensure there was appropriate support for those retrenched.