Premier Daniel Andrews appealed to dairy company Murray Goulburn to think about its treatment of workers and suppliers when he visited Portland on Thursday to mark Alcoa’s aluminium smelter returning to capacity.
Mr Andrews said he hoped up to 31 Koroit tanker operators who were made redundant this week were treated respectfully.
“Our thoughts are with those families,” he said. “This will be a really difficult and uncertain time for them.
“I know that previous decisions that this company have made have not been done respectfully and people have suffered because of that.”
The premier said his government stood ready to provide support for those affected.
“(Murray Goulburn) have got to be much more mindful of how it is they break this news, how they treat their workforce and indeed their suppliers,” he said.
Agriculture Minister Jaala Pulford said she met with the company this week, and it was in a difficult position.
For the second time in almost nine months, Mr Andrews addressed workers at Portland’s smelter, saying he was proud of their efforts.
The visit marked the smelter’s return to its production capacity following a power outage last December that caused stalled two potlines and caused significant damage. In January, the state government provided an undisclosed amount – believed to exceed $200 million – to secure the plant’s future, while the federal government gave $30 million to repair damage.