$950,000 for UHT facility for Pactum Dairy in Shepparton

By Janette Woodhouse
Friday, 14 February, 2014

Long-life milk manufacturer Pactum Dairy Group has developed a state-of-the-art new ultrahigh temperature (UHT) milk processing facility at Shepparton with $950,000 in Victorian government funding - a significantly smaller amount than has been promised to SPC Ardmona.

This $40 million dairy upgrade will generate 35 full-time equivalent jobs in Shepparton (extending to 52 jobs within three years) and product from the facility will have an export investment potential of around $70 million, particularly to the Chinese and other SE Asian markets, and domestic sales estimated to be $30 million.

You can’t help but compare this Shepparton project with SPC Ardmona. The dairy knows what it is going to produce and knows it has a market. Government funding of less than a million dollars is less than one-twentieth of what the Victorian government is giving SPC. And SPC is still just saying it is going to invest in “innovation and efficiencies” - $100 million worth of unspecified innovation and efficiencies.

Personally, I’d rather give my tax dollars to Pactum or get SPC to hire whoever is doing the planning at Pactum so the investment is productive.

All of these thoughts could be completely wrong - SPC may have a sound, financially viable plan, but they haven’t released it.

What Pactum is doing with its $950,000

$700,000 will go towards the UHT processing facility. This money was provided through the Industries for Today and Tomorrow fund which was designed to develop regionally based businesses with high growth potential.

A further $250,000 was provided through the $1 billion Regional Growth Fund’s Economic Infrastructure Program and is to be used to assist with the extension of the natural gas pipeline to the site.

Deputy Premier and Minister for Regional and Rural Development Peter Ryan said, “The creation of the new UHT processing facility in Shepparton will result in the production of 100 million litres of UHT milk in the next three years.

“The Economic Infrastructure Program provides funding of $221 million over a period of four years, with the aim to improve the productive potential of regional Victoria.

“The Regional Growth Fund supports major strategic infrastructure and community-led local initiatives that improve both the competitiveness and liveability of regional and rural Victoria, creating more jobs and better career opportunities.

“Since it was established in early 2011, the Regional Growth Fund has invested more than $380 million to support over 1350 projects across regional and rural Victoria, leveraging $1.55 billion in total investment,” Ryan said.

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