WARRNAMBOOL’S and the south-west’s economy is to get a major boost with the Midfield Group announcing a $20 million expansion that is expected to create more than 200 jobs in Warrnambool.
The expansion will not only increase the company’s meat storage and waste treatment capacity, it will also involve a ground-breaking diversification by Midfield into dairy processing with a milk powder production facility.
Midfield Group managing director Colin McKenna today said the company aimed to produce “much more than meat”.
The company’s diversification into dairy processing would “change the face of farming in the local area”, Mr McKenna said.
He said Midfield did not intend to take milk supply away from current milk powder producers in the south-west but to tap into the increased supply of milk the region was expected to produce.
Midfield production manager Dean McKenna said the milk powder would be produced for export.
Warrnambool City Council chief executive officer Bruce Anson said Midfield’s proposal for a milk powder facility was complex but offered potentially great benefits for the city.
“The dairy processing proposal would require a portion of the Crown land on which the council’s Scott Street depot is situated,” Mr Anson said.
“For this to occur the council would need to first acquire the freehold title of the land from the state government,” Mr Anson said.
Work on the other components of the company’s expansion, increasing its cold storage and waste treatment capacity, is expected to begin later this year.
Dean McKenna said the latter upgrades would enable the company to increase its meat production, which would generate many of the 200 new jobs to be created — the rest to come from the milk powder facility.
Both the state and local governments said Midfield’s announcement was great news not only for Warrnambool but also for the south-west.
Premier Denis Napthine said the state government would provide $1.5 million from its Regional Growth Fund for the cold store and rendering plant projects.
The $15 million cold store will be built beside the company’s Meat Barn on Scott Street.
Dr Napthine said the company’s refrigeration facilities will also receive a $2 million upgrade from the project.
He said an additional $3 million will also be spent on the company’s rendering plant at Levy’s Point to enable it to treat its wastewater and dispose of it through a trade waste connection.
“This will include the construction of a trade waste sewer, installation of new equipment to separate waste streams and treat nutrients, construction of anaerobic tanks to treat waste water and capture biogas, in addition to a new effluent storage plant,” Dr Napthine said.