Bairnsdale is set to become a hub for the Australian beetroot processing industry, with local manufacturer Vegco investing in a new $3.78 million beetroot processing facility with the support of $150,000 from the Victorian Coalition Government’s $1 billion Regional Growth Fund.
Member for Gippsland East, Tim Bull, said the Coalition Government’s funding boost would help Vegco purchase and install its new beetroot processing facility, reducing reliance on imported beetroot products.
"I have been regularly briefed on this project over the course of this year and have been fully supportive - it is terrific news that it is now coming to fruition. This new facility will make Bairnsdale a leader in the Australian beetroot processing industry, creating 16 new full-time jobs and a further 15 indirect jobs, with the potential to generate more employment in the future.
“Vegco is investing $3.63 million of its own money into processing equipment and product development that will enable it to produce its innovative ‘Love Beets’ range of products right here in Bairnsdale,” Mr Bull said.
“This range includes vacuum-packed 250 gram packs of 100 per cent natural baby beetroot as well as packs infused with flavours such as sweetfire chilli, honey and ginger, and white wine and balsamic vinegar.”
Mr Bull said the products were packaged in a format that had never been used in Australia, eliminating the need to import the product from the United Kingdom.
“Ensuring that these beetroot products can be manufactured locally is crucial to revitalising the Australian beetroot processing industry, which has been in decline over recent years due to movement off-shore,” Mr Bull said.
“The technology associated with the new plant will also allow the year-round supply of beetroot products, where previously local supply was on a seasonal basis.”
Mr Bull said today’s announcement continues the Coalition Government’s strong support for Vegco following the announcement in February of a $120,000 grant towards the $1.8 million upgrade of the company’s salad leaf production line earlier this year.
Deputy Premier and Minister for Rural and Regional Development, Peter Ryan, said local suppliers, growers, transporters and businesses would benefit from the increased production, resulting in more jobs, higher wages and other flow-on benefits for the region.
“This investment is proof that regional Victoria has a strong future in manufacturing and is vote of confidence in the people and products of East Gippsland,” Mr Ryan said.
“This expansion project is another example of the Coalition Government’s $1 billion Regional Growth Fund investing in local manufacturing to grow the region and create additional local employment and opportunities.
“In just over two years, the Regional Growth Fund has invested more than $300 million into 1100 regional and rural projects, leveraging $1.3 billion in total investment.
“This includes many significant projects across East Gippsland including $500,000 towards the Bairnsdale Library Precinct improvements, $500,000 towards Bairnsdale CBD improvements and $500,000 towards the refuelling facility at Bullock Island, Lakes Entrance.”