New Zealand-based dairy business Fonterra will invest $120 million in its cheese manufacturing facility in regional Victoria, creating 30 more jobs at the site.
Fonterra Australia will invest NZ$141 million in building a state-of-the-art cheese plant at its Stanhope factory. The new facility will replace the existing plant, which was destroyed by fire in December last year.
Victorian minister for regional development Jaala Pulford said the spending will safeguard 120 existing jobs, along with creating the 30 new ones.
“Fonterra’s significant investment in their Stanhope facility is a major vote of confidence in Victoria’s dairy industry and confirms regional Victoria’s reputation as a great place to do business,” Pulford said last week.
The $120 million modernisation and expansion project will include demolishing and rebuilding the fire-damaged hard cheese plant, installing modern processing equipment to increase the production of hard cheeses, building and installing a modern mozzarella cheese manufacturing facility, and re-instating whey production for the increased plant capacity.
“This project is a great example of our Regional Jobs and Infrastructure Fund in action,” she said. “The Victorian Government is committed to supporting projects that create jobs and strengthen regional Victoria.”
Fonterra Oceania managing director Judith Swales said investing in the new plant will help Fonterra deliver its multi-hub strategy to get the maximum value out of every drop of milk.
“Today’s announcement is strategy in action,” Swales said, “where we are delivering on our strategic plan to transform our Australian business and return it to strong and sustainable profitability.
“We are focusing on areas where we can win in a highly competitive market, and that means optimising our product mix and investing in higher value add products that will deliver the best returns for our farmer shareholders.
“Rebuilding and expanding our Stanhope cheese plant is key to this.”