Aaron Clews is a fourth-generation dairy farmer at The Caves
Aaron Clews is a fourth-generation dairy farmer at The Caves

Pauls closure won’t affect CQ dairy farmers

IT WILL be business as usual for fourth-generation dairy farmer Aaron Clews, after the announcement that Pauls Rockhampton would shut its doors for good on February 28.

The dairy farmer from Clews Family at Rossmoya has been supplying milk to Pauls' parent company, Lactalis, (formerly known as Parmalat) for 15-20 years, before the announcement was made earlier this week.

Depending on the time of year, Mr Clews' farm has a usual average of around 280 cows.

"We got an email on Tuesday morning, when everyone was notified, that Pauls would be closing (in Rockhampton) but that they would still honour their contract with us," he said.

"It's going to be business as usual.

"(All suppliers) are on the same contract.

"There are no implications for us at this stage and Lactalis will still collect our milk.

"In the email they said they would try to relocate people who wanted to continue ­working within the milk manufacturing industry to southern plants, but as far as people wanting to stay local and work in the milk ­manufacturing business, there is nothing else like that here."

Earlier this week, Lactalis chief executive officer Ron Walden said the company would continue buying from CQ dairy farmers and would redirect the milk at the ­business' cost to Nambour and Brisbane for processing.

Despite the positive news for farmers, the decision is a devastating blow to the factory's 47 workers who will now be without jobs.

In a letter to Rockhampton MP Barry O'Rourke, Mr Walden said Lactalis had ­completed an analysis of its Queensland manufacturing capabilities and was ­announcing changes in response to its Rockhampton and South Brisbane factories due to the state's changing milk supply, particularly in Rockhampton.

"It was probably always going to happen eventually with the declining milk industry in CQ," Mr Clews said.

"It is sad for the workers involved and the history with that factory in Rockhampton.

"It's also sad because of the fact there was milk manufacturing in Rockhampton and the regions and now it's closed."

Mr Clews said there were 16 farms that supplied Pauls.