New dairy factory tapping into the Asian Century Fri 15 March 2013 Lara Giddings Premier Bryan Green Minister for Primary Industries Tasmania is already embracing the opportunities on offer in the Asian Century, with the opening of Tasmanian Dairy Products $80 million milk processing facility at Smithton. The Premier, Lara Giddings, said the facility is providing jobs and opportunities in regional Tasmania, while setting the dairy industry up for future growth. Around 90 per cent of the dry milk powder which is being produced at the north-west facility will be exported to international markets, primarily in Asia and the Middle East. "Nothing illustrates Tasmania's economic transition better than this 21st century factory on the site of an old Gunns Limited sawmill," Ms Giddings said. "The jobs of the future will come from embracing the opportunities of the Asian Century and value-adding the things we have always done well. "During my Asian trade mission last year I found that the growing Asian middle class is prepared to pay a premium for high quality, safe food for their families and North West Tasmania is perfectly placed to take advantage of that demand. "I was amazed to see Tasmanian baby formula selling for over $60 a can in a Shanghai supermarket, nearly double the price here. "The establishment of the Tasmanian Dairy Products facility is a demonstration of confidence in not just the quality of the Tasmanian product but the reliability of supply as well from our agricultural producers." Ms Giddings congratulated TDP for establishing the plant, which currently employs 40 people directly, with scope for further growth. "More than 150 people were employed through the construction process, and hundreds more are supported indirectly through contracts with local milk producers and in Wynyard Transport, which has picked up the contract to collect milk from local farms," Ms Giddings said. The plant, which began operation in September last year, has signed up more than 60 farms on the NW coast to supply milk with a plant capacity at 250 million to 300 million litres of milk per year. The Minister for Primary Industries, Bryan Green, said the State Government was committed to the ongoing expansion of the Tasmanian dairy industry. "Through the plans and investments we are working on with Tasmanian producers will double dairy production in Tasmania over the next decade," Mr Green said. "Industry research shows 40 per cent of dairy farmers plan to expand production in the coming year, with an extra 550 on-farm jobs expected to be created over the next 3-5 years and up to 2000 in the long term. "We are helping to make that happen through initiatives like our $200 million investment in irrigation infrastructure and $400,000 for dairy conversion planning included in the Tasmanian Jobs Package. "Regional development funding allocated as part of the Tasmanian Forests Agreement includes $1.5 million for power upgrades along Harcus River Road to facilitate dairy conversions and $4.25 million for the new Agritas Trade College at Smithton."