New toowoomba milk powder plant a positive step

By Ross McInnes, QDO Vice-President

The announcement of a new infant formula plant at the 550 hectare Wellcamp Business Park in Toowoomba has been welcomed by the Queensland Dairyfarmers Organisation (QDO).

The Toowoomba Integrated Milk Project (TIMP) is a joint venture between Au Lait Australia and Nature One Dairy. Stage 1 will include a $35 million powder plant with a capacity of 25-30,000 tonnes per year. This will be the first of 2 stages which will incude a nearby dairy farm.

The Business Park was seen as logistically ideal considering its proximity to the Wellcamp Airport and the opportunities arising from the completion of the second Toowoomba range crossing.

QDO has been working with the founders of this project by providing essential industry intelligence and background information necessary for the planning phase of the project.

There have been a number of potential new players in the local dairy industry over the years, and while some have not come to fruition to date, QDO will continue to promote the Queensland dairy industry to development and create extra demand for our farmer’s milk.

While the supermarkets continue to hold such a stranglehold over the domestic fresh milk market leaving Queensland dairies completely exposed to predatory market tactics, it is obvious we need to take every opportunity to increase demand in the marketplace and to seek out new high value markets. The sad fact is that the longer that unsustainably priced milk stays on the market, the tighter the margins will be squeezed along the dairy supply chain.

This is a pivotal time in the Australian dairy industry with forecast drops in production of about 5-7% for this financial year. This will increase pressure on the available milk throughout the industry especially in the autumn period.

 Queensland milk production rose by over 3% in May and while it is too early to say our production has bottomed out, the Wellcamp announcement and the holding of the milk price by our processors certainly helps to put a long overdue positive perspective into our industry.