Australia: Tomatoes and jobs to grow in Tatura

With support from the Andrews Labor Government, Flavorite has just finalized the build of a new six-hectare glasshouse at their Tatura site in Victoria, which is set to produce a further 4,000 tons of tomatoes a year and increase their employee base in the Goulburn Valley region from 110 to 170 employees.

The additional 60 full-time jobs will provide great opportunities for regional communities to develop new skills and diverse careers in the Agricultural sector. The Flavorite business has shown great resilience and strong growth even through the many challenges of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, providing those joining the business with job security and training.

From left to right: Ross Barry, Chief Investments Officer, Spirit Super, Mike Nichol, CEO, Flavorite, Cr Shane Sali, Greater Shepparton City Mayor, Mr. Tim Pallas, Victorian Treasurer, The Hon. Harriet Shing, Regional Development Minister, Victorian Government, Katrina
McPhee, Chief of Staff, Aware Super, Rishi Dua, Associate Portfolio Manager (Private Equity), Aware Super, & Mark Gepp, State MP for Northern Victoria

The State Government made the development possible through assistance from the Victorian Business Growth Fund (VBGF) and the Regional Jobs Fund. Flavorite welcomed Treasurer Tim Pallas and Minister for Regional Development Harriet Shing to their Tatura site to officially open their new multi-million dollar glasshouse on Wednesday.

Treasurer Tim Pallas said, "Flavorite is a family company providing a driving force for local jobs - which is why with the help of the Victorian Government's support, the company is expanding its operations, helping future proof the company and create 60 new jobs. Our localized, regional support is deliberate – we support companies that back their communities and assist existing industries to grow."

Images of Flavorite's new six-hectare glasshouse planted with young tomato plants

The $250 million VBGF was established by the Victorian Government in 2020 & ROC Partners were chosen to manage the fund, which would provide support to small and medium businesses like Flavorite, who were successful in securing one of the first grants. Established by the government in partnership with Spirit Super & Aware Super – the VBGF delivers essential funding for Victorian businesses to expand their organizations while achieving better social and environmental outcomes.

Ross Barry, Chief Investment Officer from Spirit Super, said, "Spirit Super is proactively looking to invest in compelling opportunities that also deliver strong socio-economic benefits right here in our own backyard – local job creation, local innovation, and stronger local communities. "It is at the heart of our impact investment strategy and at the heart of our investment in the Victorian Business Growth Fund."

The Regional Jobs Fund is part of the government's flagship Regional Jobs and Infrastructure Fund, which helps businesses create jobs in regional Victoria, supports community projects, and backs councils to build the infrastructure that locals and visitors need. Katrina McPhee, Aware Super State Executive, Victoria explains why the fund is excited to continue partnering with the Victorian Government to invest in regional communities.

"Aware Super manages the retirement savings of around 400,000 Victorians, and we're sure that the thousands of members who live right here in the Greater Shepperton region will be proud that a portion of their savings is invested right here in Flavorite. Being able to invest in one of Victoria's most innovative rural agribusinesses is not just great for strong, long-term returns that deliver for our members' retirement but also for the Shepparton community by delivering local jobs, greater productivity, and further stimulation of the local economy."

This investment will see Flavorite's total production under glass grow from 58 hectares to 64 hectares and makes Flavorite the largest glasshouse producer of fresh fruit and vegetables in Australia, and it doesn't look like they're stopping there.

Flavorite's CEO Mike Nichol said, "With the support from the Victorian Government, Roc Partners, Spirit Super, and Aware Super, we have been able to build a six-hectare glasshouse facility here in the Goulburn Valley. This project will help grow our business, diversify our product range, create more jobs for regional Victoria and drive sustainable agriculture." "Without these initiatives and partnerships, we wouldn't be able to achieve our vision for growth. It just shows what can be achieved when government and industry work together."

Flavorite already plans to build a further twelve-hectare glasshouse, 40 megalitre dam, and a 120,000m2 packhouse on the Tatura site. All of this will create more jobs for the local communities in the coming 12 to 24 months.

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