Murray Goulburn dumps dairy support scheme

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Australia's largest milk processor Murray Goulburn is set to axe 360 jobs when it closes three of its factories.

The ACCC alleges that former managing director Gary Helou and former chief financial officer Bradley Hingle were "knowingly concerned" in Murray Goulburn's conduct.

Young families who will lose their income stream when Murray Goulburn closes its Rochester plant: Carmen Moon said her husband, Stacey, worked at the dairy processing plant for about five years and his income supported their four children.

The news of Murray Goulburn's closures comes just days after the competition watchdog revealed it was taking the processor to court for giving farmers "false and misleading" information before slashing farmgate milk prices a year ago.

In April 2016, Murray Goulburn cut the price it paid suppliers by 20 percent in a move that angered farmers, who said the cut came so late in the season that they had little chance but to continue producing at a loss.

On the financial side, the closures are ultimately expected to deliver $40 to $50 million with a net financial benefit of $15 million in the FY18.

Murray Goulburn has announced it will close three of its factories.

Strathmerton Murray Goulburn supplier Andrew Wilson said news of the legal action wasn't surprising, and describing suppliers as having been misled was appropriate.

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Dairy farmers were left struggling to support themselves when Murray Goulburn slashed the farmgate price to below the cost of production; in an attempt to get back money it was owed.

Murray Goulburn drove the milk industry towards collapse previous year when it unexpectedly slashed its price to suppliers and then hit them again with its claw-back MSSP.

But Mr McLaren said MG's opening milk price for the next season would determine what direction he took with his long career in the dairy industry.

The UDV has welcomed the ACCC announcement and agrees with the commission's decision not to seek penalties from the co-operative.

"The trust that the industry has lost over the a year ago has been nearly insurmountable and it's going to take a long time to rebuild".

"Their brand name has been tarnished and we would like to see Murray Goulburn do the right thing".

"Not only had it created a financial burden on the farmers, perhaps more importantly it created an emotional burden or disconnect between the suppliers and their co-op", Mr Mervis said.

"In these circumstances, farmers were entitled to expect Murray Goulburn to have a reasonable basis for determining its pricing, and to regularly update farmers if there was any change in forecast prices".

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