City milk factory to lead technology standards
CONSTRUCTION on a leading-edge milk factory that will export more than one million litres of milk to the biggest economy in the world through Wellcamp Airport is expected to start next month.
Toowoomba Premium Milk executive chairman Steve Laracy said he was hopeful development on stage one, worth $50 million, would start in mid-october.
The sprawling factory to be built 700m from the Wellcamp Airport runway in the Wagner-owned Wellcamp Business Park will export infant formula with an immediate focus on China.
That would later expand to the wider Asian region and into the United Arab Emirates.
Mr Laracy said TPM’S leading technology would give it an edge in the export market and enable Asian customers to have faith in the quality of the product.
“We’re incorporating leading-edge technology, particularly in the traceability and food security, to get us in front of the curve,” he said.
“Particularly in Asia, there is a demand for the security of traceability in knowing they’re getting the real deal out of Australia.
“The (dairy) industry is catching up but we’re going to be the leading edge.”
Works are expected to begin on the ambitious stage two before the first stage is completed, exporting fresh milk, drinking yoghurt and UHT direct to Chinese supermarkets.
Initial capacity will be about 300,000L a day, or 108 million litres a year, with possible future expansion.
Increases in technology have blown the stage two costs out to $180 million.
The third stage includes a new dairy farm with up to 25,000 head of cattle on the Darling Downs.
But with that forming the long-term ambition of the company, Mr Laracy said regional farmers of quality product would be tipped to supply TPM to meet its customer demands.
Trade and Investment Queensland has earmarked TPM products to be exported by March 2019.
More than 5200 jobs are expected to be created during construction, with 150 direct jobs created once operational.
WINNING FORMULA: Concept plans for the Toowoomba Premium Milk factory adjacent to the Toowoomba Wellcamp Airport.