Saputo Dairy Australia will permanently close its Maffra facility in Victoria early next year.
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Saputo to close Maffra facility
Saputo Dairy Australia will shut its Maffra facility and streamline two others. Picture: AP Photo/The Canadian Press, Ryan Remiorz Photo by AP Photo/The Canadian Press

The Maffra facility primarily produces dried milk.

The company announced on November 9 it was undertaking “consolidation initiatives intended to enhance its operational efficiency and strengthen its competitiveness”.

Two of its other operations will be streamlined — Saputo will shut down its bulk powders production area in Leongatha, Victoria, and close its cheese packaging area at Mil-Lel in South Australia.

About 75 employees will be affected by the changes.

Saputo said it would work closely with affected employees at the three sites to consider redeployment and retraining opportunities, or if suitable roles were not available, employees would receive severance and outplacement support.

The company said many of the impacted production and packaging functions at the three facilities would be absorbed or integrated into its other facilities.

“While a very difficult decision to make, today’s announcement continues our journey towards long-term success for our business in Australia by increasing our efficiency and productivity, and making our business more competitive,” Saputo (International and Europe) president and chief operation officer Leanne Cutts said.

“These strategic steps taken to further streamline our network aim to leverage SDA’s broader manufacturing network capabilities while creating synergies to maximise the return on every litre of milk.”

Saputo said the changes would occur during the first three months of 2023 and it did not expect the changes would affect suppliers.

Earlier this year Saputo closed its cheese slice line at the Cobram factory in northern Victoria and in September said it was looking at rationalising its Australian dairy factories in its implementation of a new, four-year global strategic plan.

Bega’s Better Farms Program supports eligible dairy farmers’ by offering up to $1.1 million worth of financial grants each year.

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