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Monday, 23 March 1998
Page: 1273


Mr BROADBENT —Mr Speaker, let me congratulate you on your elevation to your position; it is the first time I have spoken under your guidance. I am here in praise of the Premier of Victoria, Mr Jeffrey Kennett, on his opening of the Bonlac Foods milk processing plant at Darnum. I am here to say that more than 1,800 guests, including more than 1,200 Bonlac dairy farmer suppliers, attended the opening ceremony. Other guests included people from Japan, Brazil, China, the Philippines and Singapore. The Darnum Park construction cost $150 million. It is the single biggest greenfield investment ever in the history of the Australian dairy industry. It gives a substantial boost to milk powder production.

The plant is capable of producing some 60,000 tonnes of milk powder per annum and will add substantially to Bonlac Food's export performance, which last year was worth around half a billion dollars. The investment at Darnum Park is a tangible expression of our determination to achieve sustainable competitiveness in a global dairy market, led out of Gippsland in Victoria—particularly my seat of McMillan. This factory is world leading edge environmental practice, which is instantly recognised by current and prospective customers from around the world. Darnum Park was awarded the 1997 Environment Protection Authority Clean Production Award. So, all praise to the Premier of Victoria.