Premier of Tasmania Lara Giddings has officially opened the $80 million milk processing facility of Tasmanian Dairy Products at Smithton.In a media release, Ms. Giddings said “The jobs of the future will come from embracing the opportunities of the Asian Century and value-adding the things we have always done well.”
In line with the White Paper commissioned on ‘Tasmania’s Place in the Asian Century’, the Government acknowledges that demand for dairy products lies in Asia, where suppliers cannot produce fast enough to meet the demands.
Giddings said the facility is providing jobs and opportunities in regional Tasmania, while setting the dairy industry up for future growth.
“During my Asian trade mission last year I found that the growing Asian middle class is prepared to pay a premium for high quality, safe food for their families and North West Tasmania is perfectly placed to take advantage of that demand.
She shared that she was amazed to see Tasmanian baby formula selling in a Shanghai supermarket for $60 a can which is nearly double the local price.
“The establishment of the Tasmanian Dairy Products facility is a demonstration of confidence in not just the quality of the Tasmanian product but the reliability of supply as well from our agricultural producers.”
Ms. Giddings congratulated TDP for establishing the plant which hopes to increase its current size of employees. At the moment TDP employs 40 people directly.
“More than 150 people were employed through the construction process, and hundreds more are supported indirectly through contracts with local milk producers and in Wynyard Transport, which has picked up the contract to collect milk from local farms,” Ms Giddings said.
In a related article from The Advocate, TDP’s CEO Tony Catania said the state-of-the-art facility had generated an additional 300 million litres of milk processing capacity since it began its operation in September last year. The plant has the potential to produce up to 40,000 tonnes of dairy products.
“Our investment in Tasmania has provided strong encouragement for existing dairy farmers to invest in and grow their own operations and for new farmers to enter the industry,” Catania said.
“We are already producing quality dairy products and are attracting strong interest from Australian and international dairy ingredient customers.”
Meanwhile Primary Industries Minister Brian Green expressed the State Government’s continuous commitment to the ongoing expansion of the Tasmanian dairy industry.
“Through the plans and investments we are working on with Tasmanian producers will double dairy production in Tasmania over the next decade,” Mr. Green said.
“Industry research shows 40 per cent of dairy farmers plan to expand production in the coming year, with an extra 550 on-farm jobs expected to be created over the next 3-5 years and up to 2000 in the long term.
“We are helping to make that happen through initiatives like our $200 million investment in irrigation infrastructure and $400,000 for dairy conversion planning included in the Tasmanian Jobs Package.
The regional development funding which is part of the Tasmanian Forests Agreement also includes $1.5 million for power upgrades along Harcus River Road to facilitate dairy conversions and $4.25 million for the new Agritas Trade College at Smithton according to Mr. Green.