Freedom gets $1.7M

By Country News

Freedom Foods has been funded by the Victorian Government to the tune of $1.7million to assist with the completion of an $8.6million investment in on-site rooftop solar, voltage optimisation and battery storage.

The solar investment is expected to reduce the milk processing company’s electricity usage by about 36 per cent.

‘‘We are here today to announce the $1.7million that the state government has given us — a grant for our new solar project to help the upgrade on solar,’’ Freedom Foods site general manager Mick Betson said.

‘‘It will reduce our power bills by a third, which is huge, and it will also remove some of the concerns we have with power flicks and brownouts.’’

Agriculture Minister Jaala Pulford visited the site in Old Dookie Rd, Shepparton, on Friday to make the announcement.

‘‘It’s wonderful to be at Freedom Foods in Shepparton to visit the site and talk about some really, really exciting developments that are under way and are planned for this site,’’ Ms Pulford said.

The funding is being drawn from the Jobs, Investment Attraction and Assistance Program, a dedicated fund designed to secure private sector investment, create jobs and boost economic activity in Victoria.

Ms Pulford said the grant would give the local economy a boost.

‘‘With this grant, we’re helping create new jobs in Shepparton and boosting the local economy.’’

The solar development is on top of the $70million investment the company made earlier this year, which will double the plant’s processing capacity to 500million litres a year.

Mr Betson confirmed that milk from the recently acquired Coomboona Dairies would contribute to this increased processing capacity and said the nutritional plant would be up and running by January.

‘‘Thirty million litres from Coomboona would be great,’’ he said.