The Victorian Labor Government’s unwillingness to support a western Victorian food manufacturer to expand its local operations has seen our state lose thousands of jobs to South Australia.
South Australian Premier Steven Marshall is today celebrating his state securing a massive investment in food manufacturing with Horsham’s Australian Plant Proteins to set up a commercial scale pulse protein extraction facility in SA.
Leader of The Nationals and Shadow Minister for Agriculture Peter Walsh slammed the Andrews Government for ignoring warnings in May 2020 that Labor’s lack of support was risking Victoria losing the investment altogether.
“International demand for plant proteins is booming, but instead of seizing this opportunity to become a powerhouse supplier in an emerging new market, Victoria will sit on the sidelines watching South Australia reap the rewards,” Mr Walsh said.
“The Victorian Labor Government was given every opportunity to support the expansion of Australian Plant Protein’s Horsham-based operations, but deliberately ignored the call.
“The company was crying out for Government support when I visited the Horsham facility back in May 2020. They were looking at their options, with a clear preference to remain in Victoria.
“Victoria losing local jobs and investment to South Australia is no way to support regional communities and our economy to recover and rebuild.”
The expansion will see South Australia become home to the largest pulse protein ingredient manufacturing capability in Australia, with 1345 construction jobs and 384 new direct manufacturing jobs.
In the long-term, more than 8500 new full-time positions will be created in the supply chain.
The project will be delivered with $113 million in funding from the Federal Liberals and Nationals Government’s $1.3 billion Modern Manufacturing Initiative.
Mr Walsh said it was a bitter pill for Victoria – a past manufacturing powerhouse – to lose this project interstate.
“We need to take up every opportunity to create new careers and revive manufacturing here in Victoria, which is why the Liberals and Nationals in government will create a $2.5 billion Bringing Manufacturing Home fund,” Mr Walsh said.
“Boosting the volume of locally-manufactured products is part of the Liberals and Nationals’ positive plan to recover and rebuild and secure our state against future shocks to the global supply chain.”