Investment in Brunswick factory to create jobs

David CharlesworthSouth Western Times

A $10 million injection to kickstart cheese production at Brownes’ Brunswick dairy factory was announced this week, bringing it back to full capacity over the next five years and jobs along with it.

The investment for the factory will see production increase over the next three to five years to reach the facility’s 6000 tonne a year capacity, using about 60 million litres of milk.

Most of the cheese produced will be exported to China with a small amount to be sold in WA.

Brunswick resident and WA Farmers Dairy president Michael Partridge said it was great to see an investment in manufacturing for the dairy industry.

“Managing seasonal variation will be more efficient with an upgraded cheese plant,” he said.

“It’s not going to ramp up State production, it’s about managing what we’ve got and handling a little bit of growth.”

Harvey shire president Tania Jackson said she had not expected it but had hoped investment would follow the company’s acquisition last year.

“With the change in ownership there was always a factor of new investment in the site,” she said.

“It’s been an important part of the Brunswick community for decades.”

When it reaches full capacity the facility is expected to employ 20 full-time staff.

Cr Jackson said she hoped local jobs would return with a lot of experience still present from those previously made redundant.

“I would hope, along with the technological improvements, that we’ll see local jobs in the Brunswick community,” she said.

Brownes Dairy managing director Tony Girgis said the Chinese Government gave regulatory approval for Brownes to export cheese last week, with the first big shipments going to China this spring.

The $10 million upgrade will include installing a system to dry the whey, with production leaning towards a system using it to make a nutritious animal-grade feed.

The factory increased cheese production to 300 tonnes last year, which was required to receive licences.

In 2014, 23 of the 37 Brunswick staff were made redundant after Brownes centralised its cultured production centre to Balcatta.

In August last year, Brownes was sold by private equity company Archer Capital to a Chinese consortium lead by dairy giant Shanghai Ground Food Tech.

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