I rise on behalf of the 150 workers at the Devondale Murray Goulburn plant at Kiewa who are now facing redundancy. This is a factory that traces its origins back to 1894 and has supported generations of workers. The decision comes after a tumultuous 12 months for the industry, mostly the doing of executives and not the workers or the farmers. I urge Murray Goulburn to make their intentions clear. Do they intend to gut the Kiewa plant, will they mothball it or will they put it on the market, bearing in mind that the plant is not worth a whole lot without milk? The employees and workers cannot wait around for 12 months. Casualising its workforce is not a demonstration of good faith either.

The government should, and the Liberal and National parties do, support and encourage new enterprises — and there are plenty of ideas — in regional Victoria. We need to build on the resilience of the dairy farmers in Benambra and surrounding districts, who in recent years increased their production by 29 per cent and filled the void in winter milk supply by changing farming practices. The constant catch-cry we hear from those on the other side — the untalented collective of hypocrites who arrogantly occupy the government benches in this place — is that regional Victoria is transitioning. I clearly and loudly say that we do not want to transition to welfare; we want investment in jobs and to have careers that support our families, our economy and our wonderful opportunities and lifestyle.


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