Tick for Toora factory
SOUTH Gippsland Shire Council has granted Viplus Dairy approval for the first stage of production at the Toora factory.
Manager of the infant formula manufacturing plant, Graham Coall said the approval allows the company to start the serious work to get the factory ready for the installation of equipment.
“We have purchased the new equipment required to run the factory, which is expected to be delivered in March,” he said.
“It will take around one month to install the machines and we should be operational by April. We will then increase production to a nominal 10,000 tonnes per year of powder.”
Initially, the factory will source powdered milk to produce their infant formula; from stage two the factory will source raw milk.
“In the next month or so we hope to get back to council to work on getting approval for stage two of the project,” Mr Coall said.
Stage one of production should create around 20 jobs at the factory, which Mr Coall said would be filled with local people where possible.
“All of the maintenance and transport will be outsourced. We have a very good skills pool in this area, so we will employ as many locals as we can,” he said.
Work on preparing the buildings for the new enterprise will begin shortly, and according to Mr Coall, all of the asbestos that needed to be removed has gone.
“Any that is left has been treated as per the regulations and has been signed off through an independent authorised inspector,” he said.
“We want to be a zero harm factory, to our people, equipment, community and the environment. We also want to be a green factory.
“We will utilise modern technology, which is to our benefit and the community’s benefit.
“We will install solar panels on the roof, employ rainwater capture, treat and recycle our waste water and recycle any packaging where possible.
“We want to minimise our footprint on the environment.”
South Gippsland Shire Councillor Jeanette Harding said Viplus wanted to be a part of the community.
“Years ago, the Hanbury Butter Factory presented the community with some very old pieces of machinery and I said, one day we will have a museum to display them in,” she said.
“Viplus is going to make it possible for us to create a museum to display the machines.”
The museum will be located where the old store used to be, after Viplus gave the use of the building to council.
“The proposal is to have a dairy industry museum to represent and honour the 150 years of dairying history in South Gippsland,” Mr Coall said.
Ms Harding is desperate to have a factory in Toora and jobs for people, and the community echoes this feeling.
“There are houses around here for sale, we have a great school and high schools nearby. If there is work here, families will come,” she said.
“It is good to note that there are going to be local people employed. This is an Australian company, using Australian products and employing Australian people.”
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