AN $80 million vegetable cannery that has potential to provide an enormous jobs boost in the Lockyer Valley could also become a new tourist destination, mayor Tanya Milligan says.
AN $80 million vegetable cannery that has potential to provide an enormous jobs boost in the Lockyer Valley could also become a new tourist destination, mayor Tanya Milligan says.

‘Exciting opportunity’ for Lockyer as cannery seek investors

LOCKYER VALLEY residents will be invited to become members of the new cannery that is set to be constructed at Withcott later this year.

Colin Dorber, CEO and Managing Director of the Lockyer Valley Cannery said the project is awaiting approval by the state government for a cooperative that will seek local investors.

Once approved, residents can choose to be a member shareholder of the cooperative which has mutual obligations and in due course will pay dividends to its members.

Mr Dorber said that he anticipated the approval will come from the government later this month.

Lockyer Valley Cannery CEO Colin Dorber. Photo: Ali Kuchel.
Lockyer Valley Cannery CEO Colin Dorber. Photo: Ali Kuchel.

 

Lockyer Valley Mayor Tanya Milligan said the cannery will open many opportunities for the region and provide food security for Queensland and support local farmers.

The project began its life after Golden Circle, without warning, closed its Northgate canning facility in 2011 and moved their operations to New Zealand and Indonesia.

These actions left the farmers in the Lockyer Valley and other horticultural production areas in South East Queensland without a processor for their produce.

Cr Milligan said the community is "very excited" for the soon to be constructed cannery to open and said food security matters now more than ever.

"People want to know where their food is coming from. They want to know the farmer," Cr Milligan said.

Farmers say bringing local production to the Lockyer Valley will be a good thing after a huge void was left when the Brisbane based canneries moved offshore.

READ MORE Major investor details plan for $80m Lockyer cannery project

Project Manager, Lestor Underdown said waste will be utilized to create biomethane which will provide the cannery with most of the energy required to power the site.

A facility will be built to convert 120,000 tonnes of waste sourced from the factory into energy.

It will also take food waste from local restaurants, saving it from landfill.

Mr Dorber said a partner investor had now come on-board to fund the land acquisition and building of stage one that is set to commence in 2021.

Once approved, residents will be able to become members of the Clean and Green Cooperative for a "modest" $1000, Mr Dorber said.

He said the investment from locals will help see the project stay in Australian hands.

Read more stories by Hugh Suffell.