$100 million expansion provides ‘major boost’ for agriculture

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One of Australia’s largest frozen vegetable providers says its investment in the New South Wales Central West will significantly increase Australia’s production capacity. 

Simplot Australia will invest $65 million in upgrading its manufacturing site in Bathurst and another $40 million on acquiring farming land in the region. 

Simplot’s supply chain executive director Dane Smith said the investment was aimed at transforming the manufacturing facility into a frozen vegetable centre of excellence. 

“It will enable us to increase production capacity and ultimately help boost local and export volumes,” Mr Smith said. 

Packets of frozen vegetables on a shop shelf.Packets of frozen vegetables on a shop shelf.
Simplot Australia is the country’s only large-scale producer of frozen vegetables. (ABC News)

He said growth in demand for frozen vegetables in the past two years and supply chain issues brought on by the pandemic had contributed to supply issues. 

He said the expansion was hoped to address those concerns after his company was forced to secure produce from farms as far as Bundaberg.

“It was really around creating a more localised, resilient supply chain, securing local access to crops closer to our facility,” he said.

Boost to the economy 

The expansion is expected to create up to 100 jobs during the construction phase, which is expected to be completed in 2024. 

A sign for "Simplot Australian Bathurst production centre" on a fence at the entry to a factoryA sign for "Simplot Australian Bathurst production centre" on a fence at the entry to a factory
Simplot Australia will expand its Bathurst facility.(Supplied)

Bathurst mayor Robert Taylor said it was a major stimulus for the Central West. 

“The construction work is going to come from here, hopefully most of the materials are going to be bought through the city which is going to create employment.” 

Mr Smith said the announcement also secured the existing roles of 200 employees at the facility. 

Mr Taylor said the purchase of more than 1,500 hectares of agricultural land secured the future of the cropping industry in the region. 

“It will boost the agriculture industry around this area, when they harvest the corn they bring that in from all over the Central West,” Mr Taylor said. 

“Any land available is going to be snapped up by Simplot.”