THE United Dairyfarmers of Victoria welcomed the launch of Fonterra Australia’s revamped $140 million cheese plant at Stanhope, nearly three years after a fire ripped through the dairy company’s previous facility.
UDV President Adam Jenkins said the farmer group was pleased to see continued investment in the State’s central north, with the facility expected to contribute $30 million to the local economy by retaining 120 jobs and creating an additional 30 positions.
“The Australian dairy industry is a multi-billion dollar enterprise and investments like the Stanhope facility are important for the continued viability of the sector,” Mr Jenkins said.
“In Victoria, most of our milk is for export, and the cheese plant will help unlock more opportunities in several markets, including Japan and China.”
Victorian dairy exports in 2015-16 accounted for nearly $1.9 billion, with Japan ($387 million) and China ($323 million) being the most valuable markets.
The Stanhope plant is expected to process around 1.3 million litres of milk per day, supplied by nearly 1,000 dairy farms across Victoria.
Mr Jenkins also acknowledged the Victorian Government for providing a grant from the $500 million Regional Jobs and Infrastructure Fund (RJIF), a regional development package that encourages investment in employment, infrastructure and community initiatives.
“As with industry investment, the RJIF is hugely beneficial to ensuring healthy and prosperous regional communities,” he said.
“Any business operating in rural and regional areas should be trying to make the most of this offer before the funds run out.”