6 January 2015
The president of a Queensland dairy museum wants to thank Australia’s richest woman, Gina Rinehart, for bringing new hope to the state’s struggling dairy sector.
The mining magnate recently announced plans to invest $500 million in the South Burnett region, by buying farm land and building a dairy processing plant.
The Hope Dairies project is expected to be Australia’s biggest dairy operation and aims to produce infant milk formula for export to China.
Hope Dairies is controlled by Ms Reinhart’s Hancock Prospecting Ltd and is a move to diversify beyond her huge mining interests.
Richard O’Neill is a former dairy farmer and now runs the Queensland Dairy and Heritage Museum at Murgon, inland from Gympie.
He says the ambitious plan will save the local dairy industry.
“I think it will put a bit of stability into it. It’s been diminishing now for the last few years and getting very serious where we could quite possibly have no dairy farms in the area,” he said.
“There are only approximately 26 farms in the South Burnett and that is drastic considering what happened years ago – how many were about.
“This will put a bit of stability and stem the downward trend within the industry.
“I think good luck to her, because she’s got faith in it. She probably knows something I’m not aware of and others here aren’t aware of.”
Ms Rinehart has also made recent investments in Western Australia’s cattle and dairy industries.
Courtesy of ABC Rural