30% of Australia's apples to be produced at new facility in Tynong
Victorian Deputy Premier Peter Ryan recently opened Australia's largest apple sorting facility, the new $17 million Nine Mile Fresh facility at Tynong.
Ryan said the facility, which was a joint venture between Battunga Orchards and Bon View Orchards, would process a significant portion of Australia's apples.
Ryan, who was joined by Member for Bass Ken Smith, said the Victorian Coalition government had invested $410,000 to support the $17 million development, which created 50 new jobs in Tynong, growing to 100 new jobs within five years.
Ryan said cutting-edge equipment operating at Nine Mile Fresh increased sorting capacity from 160 to 500 bins per day, and reduced sorting, grading and packing costs by up to 20 per cent.
"Fifty local apple growers will supply this state-of-the-art facility, allowing them to meet the quality and volume requirements demanded by the major supermarkets," Ryan said.
"This impressive facility will process 30 per cent of all the apples sold in Australia, a truly remarkable achievement."
Smith welcomed the investment and said that by reducing the cost of processing apples, this facility would allow local growers to better compete against imports, while giving local exports an edge in global markets.
"This facility will also significantly improve the productivity, competitiveness, and sustainability of our apple supply chain, helping to secure the future of this vital sector of our economy," Smith said.
During his visit to Nine Mile Fresh, Ryan also launched Southern Melbourne Regional Development Australia's (RDA) Agrifood Master Plan, developed in collaboration with the region's three local councils - the City of Casey and the shires of Cardinia and Casey.
"The RDA's Agrifood Master Plan outlines a framework for the development of agriculture across Melbourne's outer south east," Ryan said.
"The plan outlines the region's many agricultural advantages, its economic benefits to Victoria and recommends strategies for investment and growth in the food production industry over the next 10 years."
Ryan said with the region's food producers continuing to experience significant urban encroachment, there was a need to focus on higher value, differentiated products such as asparagus, premium beef, quality wine, premium dairy products, berries and herbs.
Ryan said the plan identified key trends that will have the greatest impact on the local agrifood sector over the coming decade, from challenges such as rising water costs and seasonal labour shortages, to opportunities such as soaring global demand for food and the rise of Asia's middle class.
"The Victorian Coalition Government recognise the importance of local agrifood businesses adapting to these ongoing changes," Ryan said.
"That's why we are supporting the sector through initiatives such as our Food to Asia Action Plan, which seeks to build on our position as a leading exporter of premium food and beverage products to key Asian markets."