Around 20 new jobs have been created in St Arnaud after the construction of a new hay processing facility was completed with the assistance of the Victorian Government's Regional Jobs Fund.
The new hay processing site is owned by Australian export company Gilmac Pty Ltd and is their sixth Australian production site and second in Victoria.
The new site is expected to give the region's economy a big boost as it will enable the processing and exporting of hay grown within a 100km radius of the town.
Northern Grampians Shire Council Cr Tony Driscoll said the new facility is good news for farmers and employment in the region.
"It is great for our local economy and it is also great for our local farmers because it gives them another potential cropping option instead of just having conventional crops," he said.
"So now they can now move into hay production or growing hay and that is another great benefit for our region as well.
"There is already potentially 12-13 jobs, and they're (Gilmac) just trying to build the other jobs now, and they're well-paying jobs too."
Cr Driscoll also said the site will be a "win-win" for residents of St Arnaud, as it will help other local industries as well.
"The spin-offs are with local trucking company carts and containers who will busier, because this is a totally export orientated business, and that is pretty exciting as well," he said.
"In the build process, which has been going on for the last couple of years, Gilmac have been using all local contractors and all our local tradespeople have certainly been engaged in a pretty serious way.
"So the business are keen to invest locally and the flow-ons are really great for our community and when you get a major build like that all the dollars permeate back into the local town and that is a win-win for our community and our region.
"It is a great story for an local, family-owned, Australian company to invest in Australia and it is a win-win for everyone."
Gilmac accounts for one quarter of Australia's hay and straw exports and when the St Arnaud facility is running at full capacity, it will be able to press up to 80,000 tonnes of hay per year and generate exports sales into Asian markets.
The funding for the project stems from the $135 million Regional Jobs and Infrastructure Fund as part of the Victorian Government's $8 billion investment across regional and rural Victoria unveiled in the 2020/21 Budget to support communities after the effects of COVID-19.
Minister for Regional Development Mary-Anne Thomas said the new Gilmac site is an example of how the Regional Jobs Fund can be used to help create a project which can have a big impact on a rural town's economy.
"When you get a major build like that all the dollars permeate back into the local town and that is a win-win for our community and our region."Cr Tony Driscoll
"Projects like Gilmac's facilities at St Arnaud show what is possible when we support businesses to invest in local communities," she said.
"This facility will make a real difference in St Arnaud, with more jobs for locals and a significant investment in the town. I look forward to seeing how this new round helps even more country towns across Victoria."
Another round of the Regional Jobs Fund was launched this week with updated guidelines, making more money available for businesses to help country towns become even better places to live, work and invest.
The new round of the Regional Jobs Fund will be open throughout the year to companies who are looking to grow their operations.
For more information visit: https://www.rdv.vic.gov.au/grants-and-programs/regional-jobs-fund
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