More than 200 jobs are expected to be created as a $25 million development nears completion at Thomas Foods International, in Murray Bridge.
State Regional Development Minister Geoff Brock visited Murray Bridge last week to announce $2.5 million from the Regional Development Fund would go towards a new boning facility at the abattoir; and $200,000 would help Australian Saltworks, at Mulgundawa, expand its production.
Beef processing should increase by more than 25 per cent at the new Thomas Foods facility which would create more demand for cattle, with farmers from the Murraylands and across the State set to benefit.
Minister Brock said such a major project not only created full-time work for abbatoir employees, but construction workers and other industries in the region.
“I’m seeing so much optimism in the region ... Thomas Foods International is one of them, they’re being innovative, they’re being bold, spending lots of money and looking to the future,” he said.
“The other thing is that when these extra 200 people come in they will be living in the region here, Murray Bridge or surrounding areas, they also may have family, they will require stuff outside so it’s generating opportunities away from the meatworks here.
“Benefits of the project will flow on to the transportation and shipping industries to cater for the increase in product destined for the market.”
Thomas Foods International chief operating officer David McKay said the $25.4 million upgrade was timely as demand for Australian grass-fed beef was high in key international markets.
“South Australia and its high quality grass-fed cattle is in a prime position to capitalise on these emerging markets, and through this project we are confident we can make this happen to the benefit of our local producers in the process,” he said.
The state-of-the-art beef boning facility is already under construction and should be ready for operation in late March, which will make way for stage two and three of the development - the fit out of value-adding areas and an increase in chilling capacity.
The new facility is expected to improve occupational health and safety and reduce the manual workload on employees through the latest in advanced manufacturing technology.
An expansion at Australian Saltworks will see construction of a 1700-square metre production and storage warehouse and an upgrade of office and staff facilities which should help create 10 new full-time jobs by 2016-17.