WARRNAMBOOL Cheese and Butter (WCB) is to invest $6.8 million to expand and upgrade its Mil Lel plant in South Australia, creating 26 full-time jobs.
The investment is underpinned by WCB’s five-year supply agreement with Coles to produce its Great Ocean Road cheese range.
WCB chief executive David Lord said the upgraded plant would cut and pack 4000 tonnes of Great Ocean Road cheese annually.
The upgrade cost includes $1.2 million federal government funding through the South East South Australia Innovation and Investment Fund.
“Our supply agreement with Coles has allowed us to invest in additional resources and capabilities and has seen more and more consumers introduced to our products under the Great Ocean Road brand,” Mr Lord said.
The upgrade work is expected to be substantially complete this year. The cheese will be manufactured at Allansford and will use 50 million litres of milk annually, boosting the factory’s supply requirements. All the new jobs will be at the Mil Lel plant.
“This is all extra product that has come about as a direct result of our agreement with Coles,” Mr Lord said.
“The dairy industry has been a cornerstone of this region for a very long time. This announcement gives it a timely boost.”
Coles merchandise director John Durkan said he was pleased that the supply agreement was creating more jobs for rural Australia.
“The supply agreement is bringing new Australian dairy products to market, which is a great result for Coles’ customers and the dairy industry,” Mr Durkan said.
The supply agreement with Coles started last month.
Securing the supply agreement has boosted WCB’s output of product for the domestic market — a sector that is more stable than the volatile export market and not directly affected by currency fluctuations.
“It’s good news all round,” Mr Lord said.