A $2.4 million upgrade to the Vegco production facilities in Bairnsdale is tipped to bring more than $3.8 million in economic benefits to the East Gippsland region and contribute to the creation of as many as 23 new jobs.
The multi-faceted expansion project includes: • a new bagging line • an upgrade to an existing high voltage transformer • a new low voltage distribution board • an upgrade to a compressor and • an upgrade of the spinners which dry the salad vegetables after washing.
Vegco is already the largest salad fresh cuts factory in Australia, turning out up to 120,000 packs, tubs and bowls of salad a day. The upgrade will ensure the plant has sufficient power needs to meet its seasonal peaks and also enable it to boost the throughput of its spinners by more than 70 per cent.
Member for Gippsland East, Tim Bull, said the fact that Vegco had chosen to increase capacity at its Bairnsdale site demonstrated the company’s confidence in Victoria, and particularly East Gippsland, as a great place to do business. “Vegco needs to increase production to service increasing demand for its range of products from both Victoria and New South Wales.
“The great news is, the key ingredients in its products – crops like spinach, rocket and lettuce as well as tatsoi, wombok and other vegetables - will primarily come from around forty suppliers right here in Gippsland – mostly in and around Lindenow.”
Mr Bull said the Victorian Government would contribute $120,000 to the upgrade, and that the resulting economic impact represented a great return on investment.
“Increasing the capacity and efficiency of the Bairnsdale operations will provide additional job security for the 254 local people who work on-site, and will also directly create eight ongoing full-time jobs,” Mr Bull said.
“Local suppliers, growers, transporters and other local businesses will also benefit from the increased production, resulting in more jobs, higher wages and other flow-on benefits for the region.
“The benefits of this project are huge, and long-lasting.”
Mr Bull said the $120,000 grant, from the Victorian Business Flood Recovery Fund, was part of a long-term investment in local industry.
“Through the Victorian Business Flood Recovery Fund, we’re helping create sustainable jobs in Victoria’s flood-affected regions and encouraging private sector investment.”