ABOUT $50 million of infrastructure upgrades is holding back Murray Goulburn’s planned expansion at Koroit, South West Coast MP Roma Britnell says.
Mrs Britnell revealed on Wednesday the dairy giant could save $50 million if it built the proposed new infant formula milk powder plant at Laverton instead of Koroit.
She weighed into the issue this week after Murray Goulburn said the Koroit expansion was under review as it considered alternative locations.
While Murray Goulburn stressed no decision had been made on the preferred site, Laverton has emerged as a rival home.
Mrs Britnell said Laverton had appropriate water, gas and electricity infrastructure but improving those services at Koroit would cost $50 million.
In urging support for Koroit, Mrs Britnell said the state government needed to ensure businesses could expand in the region.
“The government must play a role in building and expanding infrastructure which provides opportunities to grow industries, jobs and ease pressure on Melbourne,” she said.
Mrs Britnell said Laverton was already congested and predicted to boom in the next five years which was another reason to support the move to the south-west.
“This week I met with the chairman of Murray Goulburn Phil Tracey, CEO David Mallinson and the Minster for Agriculture and Regional Development Jaala Pulford to stress to them this project needs to go ahead in Koroit,” Mrs Britnell said.
“This is such an important economic development opportunity for the region. It emulates further growth and opportunities for dairy… and it’s a win-win for everybody.
“For every dollar produced by the dairy industry there’s $3 generated in wider services and the community. It’s a tried and true economic fact.
“With my knowledge, expertise and experience I’m trying to ensure all parties understand… to see the opportunity is realised.
“If I can play a role in sharing that vision, I’m happy to do that.”
Moyne Shire mayor Colin Ryan said the council was lobbying for state government assistance to ensure the expansion happened at Koroit.
“The project is of regional and state significance, providing short and long-term employment,” he said.
“We’re here to foster and encourage industry employment in our shire. We were very happy when they made the announcement and we’re very keen that it continues. We’re trying to assist Murray Goulburn – like we would any other organisation – to stay in the area.”