Fonterra Australia supports customers, farmers and employees during industrial action


The United Workers’ Union have advised that some Fonterra Australia production workers at our sites in Cobden, Darnum and Stanhope in Victoria will take industrial action on Wednesday 18 and Thursday 19 October 2023. 

Fonterra Australia highly values our production workers who transform milk from Australian dairy farmers into loved dairy brands such as Western Star and Perfect Italiano. 

What’s the impact? 

We have mobilised a cross-company team to ensure that there are minimal disruptions as a result of this industrial action. Our farmers will continue milking, and we will be doing everything we can to ensure that their precious, perishable milk can be collected and not wasted.  

We have also executed our business contingency plans, which will mean that the processing will need to pause during the industrial action, however we have worked with our customers to provide good stocks of fresh milk in advance. We also have good inventory levels of butter and cheese to enable supply to continue based on current demand levels.

We are confident that the supply of our dairy products will continue during the industrial action and will be working closely with our customers to keep them updated.  

What’s the deal? 

For a number of months, Fonterra Australia has been engaged in good faith negotiations to secure a fair and reasonable collective agreement at our primary Victorian manufacturing sites in Cobden, Darnum and Stanhope. 

We have a fair and reasonable offer on the table of a minimum 10.5% salary increase over three years plus more leave options and greater protections for our workers. Our productions workers currently receive more than 30% above the Award base rate wage, and significantly higher when additional allowances are included.

We were also committed to our people during COVID-19, and provided them with pay increases of 2.5%, 2.5% and 2.75% in 2020, 2021 and 2022, respectively.  

What’s next?  

We are committed to continuing negotiations with the Union to secure a new agreement that protects jobs, delivers key benefits to our people, and supports the business in the long run. 

Fonterra Australia is committed to running a healthy business that is viable for years to come. 

Our sincere thanks go to our dedicated team who will be taking on additional responsibilities during this time. Their commitment to our customers and our business is greatly appreciated.

Rob Howell 
Director, Supply Chain and Operations 
Fonterra Australia