Campaspe Shire Mayor Adrian Weston said the best outcome for the Rochester community would be to see the Murray Goulburn factory put to use, and he was open to the prospect of another company purchasing the factory in an attempt to keep the doors open and locals employed.
Given the factory was in the centre of the town and provided a large number of jobs for the town, Cr Weston said it would be disappointing if it was left empty when Murray Goulburn ceased production at the plant next year.
‘‘It would be fair to say it would be of no value to the community for the site to remain empty once they’ve finished production there,’’ he said.
‘‘I guess what happens to the factory is going to be a decision for Murray Goulburn.
‘‘What wouldn’t be a good outcome would be for people to move out of the town.
‘‘We need new employment opportunities, whether that’s with a dairy processor or food processor (who could move into the factory).’’
Following the closure Cr Weston said there would be flow-on impacts within the community, but stakeholders were working to generate new opportunities to try and minimise the economic impact.
Although Cr Weston said the town was ‘‘devastated’’ by the news, he recognised that for dairy farmers in the region Murray Goulburn needed to be a sustainable business.
‘‘We are an agriculture-based shire and we are keen to see that we have a viable and vibrant dairy industry in the shire,’’ he said.
‘‘Rochester is a strong community, they were certainly strong and supported each other after the floods in 2011 and I know as a strong community they’ll find a way to get through, and the shire will work with the community to try and achieve the best outcome.’’