East Gippsland. Industry Manufacturing Forestry | July 17, 2015
Bath supports industry in East Gippsland
Friday 17th July 2015
Member for Eastern Victoria Region Melina Bath recently visited East Gippsland sawmills and other industry to listen to concerns and view innovative and sustainable business practices.
“East Gippsland truly is such a diverse region with a range of significant industries including manufacturing, agriculture, fishing and forestry,” Ms Bath said.
“These industries are fundamental drivers of East Gippsland’s economy and in some cases also contribute largely to the state’s economy so it is important the State Government and myself as the local Member assist them in continuing to thrive.
“This of course does not come without challenges and after visiting local sawmills in Nowa Nowa I was told about concerns surrounding security and supply in East Gippsland, particularly past 2017.”
Ms Bath said forestry was a very important industry to many of the smaller towns in the region.
The Nationals MP said it was important to support and encourage sustainable practices.
“I was impressed with local timber mill owner Geoff Proctor’s selective harvesting which uses single tree and gap selection techniques so as to maintain a multi-aged forest area with a range of tree sizes and growth states,” Ms Bath said.
“This means the forest remains largely stocked with a mix of trees and that the habitat and ecology are maintained which is very important.”
Ms Bath also met with Patties Foods general manager of operations at Bairnsdale Denis Gerrard who started with the company last year.
“Denis led a major turnaround in operational performance at SPC Ardmona before coming to Patties and his extensive experience in the food industry is a real win for Patties,” Ms Bath said.
She said Patties Foods had made significant contributions to the East Gippsland community.
“Patties really is a world-class food production company which is using innovative technology such as its packing automation equipment to ensure a viable future and we are lucky to have this type of business based in East Gippsland.”
Ms Bath also visited another East Gippsland success story in Vegco, the largest salad fresh cuts factory in Australia.
“The Coalition when in Government made significant investments into upgrades at Vegco and the processing plant in Bairnsdale really is an impressively well-run facility,” Ms Bath said.
“The fantastic thing about Vegco is the key ingredients in its products which include spinach, rocket, lettuce and other vegetables, primarily come from suppliers in Gippsland.”
Ms Bath said Vegco’s success produced many flow-on benefits for local suppliers, growers, transporters and other local businesses, employing hundreds of locals.
“I also had the pleasure of visiting one of Vegco’s local suppliers, Andrew Bulmer from Bulmer Farms out in the beautiful Lindenow Valley,” Ms Bath said.
“Bulmer’s run nine farms over 500 hectares growing lettuce, baby spinach, baby salad leaf and broccoli varieties.
“Long-term water supply is the main concern for Bulmer Farms which relies on the Mitchell River to feed its irrigation systems.
“Bulmer Farms really is at the forefront of using sustainable and good environmental practices and I commend them on their work.”
Ms Bath said she looked forward to continuing to work with local business and industry in Gippsland to ensure their voices were heard in the Victorian parliament and to promote future growth and prosperity.
Photo Caption: Geoff Proctor shows Member for Eastern Victoria Region Melina Bath around his multi-age eucalyptus sustainable forest coup at Nowa Nowa in East Gippsland
Media Contact: Renee Switzer 5174 7066