Woolnorth expansion nears reality

Van Diemen’s Land Company development manager Brent Anstis shows Deputy Premier Bryan Green around one of Woolnorth’s milk sheds, with the state government giving the green light for a major dairy expansion on Tuesday. Picture: Bodey Dittloff.

Dairy. Deputy Premier Bryan Green has given the green light to a $122 million dollar dairy expansion in Woolnorth by the Van Diemen’s Land Company, with only final approval by the federal government remaining before the project can begin.

The expansion, which will aim to effectively create 11 new dairy farms by clearing approximately 1800 hectares of native vegetation, will make Woolnorth one of the largest grass-fed dairy operations in the world.

Mr Green stated the project would create over 250 new jobs across the region when the farms are fully operational, adding that environmental considerations had been well handled by the company.

“The balance effectively is 6900 hectares of natural vegetation here on Woolnorth, and 70 per cent of that will remain intact forever, managed as a conservation area,” he said.

“Based on the effort put in [by VDL] and the amount of work that they have done over these last three years to get the appropriate balance, they’ve done a good job.”

Mr Green also said that he had looked at the decision “from a public benefits test”, urging the Commonwealth to give the plans the go ahead in the last hurdle – the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Act.

VDL chief executive officer Michael Guerin was confident that extensive measures had been taken to expand operations effectively, while at the same time promoting sustainable development in the area with input from conservation groups.

“It [Woolnorth] is a wonderful asset, it has a great future,” he said.

“The environmental process showed us that the right outcome – with the right balance between environmental, economic and social needs – is to clear around 1800 hectares, but then look after and protect the other 5700 hectares so we can protect the environment of the Tasmanian devil.

“With a project like this, the more input you have, the better the plan.”

Mr Guerin emphasised that while he could not reveal the names of potential investors due to confidentiality, there had been a large amount of interest in regards to the expansion.

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