CORANGAMITE Shire mayor Chris O’Connor says a $120-million dairy development at Camperdown is a major boost for south-west Victoria.
Melbourne-based agricultural investment company EAT Group has teamed with mining company MCG Group to buy the Camperdown Cheese and Butter Factory.
The companies’ joint venture, Camperdown Dairy International, will produce infant nutritional formula and bulk milk powder from the site for the lucrative Asian market.
Camperdown Dairy International has also bought farms in south-west Victoria to supply milk for its products and will control the entire supply chain from farm to distribution.
Cr O’Connor said the development showed the confidence investors had in the south-west dairy industry.
“This once again highlights the strength of the dairy industry in the south-west and it’s seen by investors as the premier dairy area of Victoria and Australia,” he said.
“It’s at the old Bonlac milk site which has been a key asset for Camperdown over the years.
“There has been some activity there recently but it’s just wonderful to see some large-scale milk production going back into that site.”
Camperdown Dairy International contractors expect to start work on the new development later this year with processing scheduled to start towards the end of next year.
The plant will create 30 to 50 jobs and aims to process 100 million litres of milk annually from its own farms, with plans to expand production over the next five years.
Camperdown Dairy International chief Phil McFarlane, a co-founder and director of EAT Group, said the company’s structure was unique.
“Our biggest point of difference in our model is we group the farm gate with the supply chain and we hope to lift production levels with that,” Mr McFarlane said.
“That not only drives employment at the factory itself, it also creates employment at the farm gate as well.”
Mr McFarlane said his company was excited to be working at a site with a rich history in the dairy industry.
“It’s staggering for me that something like this hasn’t been picked up and worked on much sooner,” he said.
Former Birregurra resident Bill McDonald owns MCG Group and also has plans to build a quarry at Ombersley, north of Birregurra.