Supporting Growth of Tasmania's Dairy Industry Fri 15 June 2012 Bryan Green Deputy Premier The Deputy Premier, Bryan Green, today announced $1.5 million in funding to support Lion's $150-million plus cheese manufacturing investment in Burnie and King Island. Mr Green said the funding will be allocated to three key elements of the project including research, development and innovation, education and training, and planning and project management. Lions' investment will create 80 full-time jobs during construction, and support the retention of 220 full-time staff when operational. Production of a range of high-value cheeses will rise from 11 000 tonnes to 18 000 tonnes by 2016 taking total factory capacity to 25 000 tonnes a year. "Lion's decision to invest $142 million to redevelop and increase production at the Burnie site, and $12 million to upgrade its King Island facility, is a vote of confidence in the Tasmanian economy," Mr Green said. "We are continuing to see significant investment and strong growth in Tasmania's dairy industry. "This highlights the capacity of Tasmania's dairy farmers to deliver increased volumes of high-quality milk needed to produce award-winning soft, pressed, fetta and cream cheeses. The Burnie upgrade expected to be completed and commissioned around mid-2014. Mr Green said the development of a $60 million milk powder plant at Smithton and VDL's plans to dramatically increase milk production in Circular Head further demonstrated the enormous benefits of a vibrant dairy industry to Tasmania's economy. "The dairy industry is a priority sector in the State Government's Economic Development Plan and this investment of over $150 million capitalises on Tasmania's advantages as a competitive, reliable, high-quality milk producer. Lion National Manufacturing Development Manager, Kevin Bull, said a cornerstone of the project will be the innovation and New Product Development facility where cheese products will be developed to meet future consumer needs. "Training our people in the new technologies and equipment to be installed is critical to the success of this project, and the Tasmanian Government will help enable this to happen," Mr Bull said. "Tasmania's reputation for clean, green and exceptional environmental standards is a good fit for the future direction of the Lion strategy to create high-quality, sustainable market leading brands such as Tasmanian Heritage, South Cape and Heidi Farm. The $1.5 million grant comprises · $600 000 towards a $14 million innovation and product development facility where new products and manufacturing processes will be developed and tested · $600 000 to support staff retraining (including through existing Skills Tasmania programs), and · A $300 000 contribution towards project design and planning, including waste management solutions. Mr Green also acknowledged the significant investment Lion will make in state-of-the-art waste management onsite as well as its contribution to infrastructure upgrades within Cradle Mountain Water's network. "Managing increased waste volumes was identified from the outset as the key impediment to the redevelopment of the Burnie site. "Lion, Cradle Mountain Water, the Burnie City Council and the State Government have spent a great deal of time and effort identifying a cost-effective solution that meets Tasmania's stringent environmental requirements and makes best use of existing waste treatment infrastructure," Mr Green said.