Deputy Premier Peter Ryan has opened Australia’s largest and most sophisticated apple sorting facility, the new $17 million Nine Mile Fresh facility at Tynong, Victoria.
The facility, which is a joint venture between Battunga Orchards and Bon View Orchards, will process about 30% of Australia’s apples.
Mr Ryan, who was joined by Member for Bass Ken Smith, revealed the Victorian Coalition Government had invested $410,000 to support the $17 million development, which created 50 new jobs in Tynong. This will grow to 100 new jobs within five years.
New equipment operating at Nine Mile Fresh has increased sorting capacity from 160 to 500 bins per day, and reduced sorting, grading and packing costs by up to 20 per cent.
“Fifty local apple growers will supply this state-of-the-art facility, allowing them to meet the quality and volume requirements demanded by the major supermarkets,” Mr Ryan said.
“This impressive facility will process 30 per cent of all the apples sold in Australia, a truly remarkable achievement,” he added.
Mr Smith believes that by reducing the cost of processing apples, the facility would allow local growers to better compete against imports, while giving local exports a competitive edge in global markets.
“This facility will also significantly improve the productivity, competitiveness and sustainability of our apple supply chain, helping to secure the future of this vital sector of our economy,” Mr Smith said.
While on his visit to Nine Mile Fresh, Mr Ryan also launched Southern Melbourne Regional Development Australia’s (RDA) Agrifood Master Plan, developed in collaboration with the region’s three local councils — the City of Casey and the shires of Cardinia and Casey.
“The RDA’s Agrifood Master Plan outlines a framework for the development of agriculture across Melbourne’s outer south east,” Mr Ryan said.