The Premier travelled to Jervois to officially recognise a South Australian success story. A disused dairy factory has been transformed into a state-of-the-art mozzarella plant, supporting local jobs and SA's dairy industry.
Can I join Roger and Brenton in welcoming you all to Jervois today for the opening of the Beston Global Food Company’s Jervois Mozzarella Plant.
I love visiting our regions.
As Premier, I’m continuing to do so on a very regular basis.
Because not only do the regions form the backbone of our economy.
Regional visits are a continuing reminder of the benefits our regions provide to all South Australians.
In our cities as well as our towns.
When our regions are strong.
So are our cities.
Today’s opening marks a further advance in our burgeoning cheese industry.
As you know, our State has dairy farms located throughout the South East, Adelaide Hills, Barossa, Mid North, Fleurieu and the Lower Murray.
There are about 74,000 milking cows on around 240 dairies.
Their farm gate value of production runs close to $200 million a year.
What’s more, our annual dairy industry exports are worth $42 million at last count.
Of this, cheese was responsible for $38 million.
It goes without saying that our domestically produced cheese is popular at home too.
On average, each of us gets through more than a kilogram a month.
Both domestic and export demand for quality cheeses is on the rise.
So I congratulate the Beston Global Food Company on becoming, in a very short time, an integral part of the Australian cheese industry.
Beston Global has taken a business which was in receivership, and a factory which was virtually derelict after the existing Mozzarella plant was pulled out and scrapped, and created a new and exciting venture.
This new business not only produces premium quality Mozzarella using state-of-the-art equipment imported from Italy.
It also produces whey powder, cream and butter and will soon also be producing lactoferrin.
What we have seen at Jervois, and at Beston's other dairy factory at Murray Bridge, is the development of a new brand of dairy products which, at last count, have won 69 medals in National and International competitions.
In doing so, in a relatively short time, Beston has given new opportunity to dairy farmers in South Australia.
Through innovation, creativity and entrepreneurship, Beston’s vision is being fulfilled.
With a decline in the dairy industry two years ago, Beston contracted almost 40 dairy families across the State to supply milk for its factories.
Through its hard work and with the support of these farmers, Beston is now the 7th largest dairy company in Australia.
I had the pleasure of hosting some of Beston's overseas customers at a function at Parliament House prior to coming to Government.
Since then, I have followed the progress of the company with keen interest.
Coming from a small business background as I do, I know how hard it is to build and grow companies from the ground up and take them into international markets.
The Beston Global Foods Company is not the first of Roger Sexton’s companies to successfully establish, grow and employ South Australians.
It’s actually his seventh.
The two most recent before Beston Global were Discovery Holiday Parks and the Beston Wine Industry Trust.
I’m pleased to recognise that they are all headquartered here in South Australia, where Roger sees a responsibility to support our State and its workers.
Roger formed the Beston Pacific Group in 1992 after extensive experience in senior public sector positions.
Just look how far this company has come.
Its cheese brand, ‘Edwards Crossing’, is now on supermarket shelves across Australia, China, Thailand, Vietnam, Malaysia and Singapore after just three years in this sector.
South Australia needs more stories like this.
More companies like the Beston Global Food Company, producing a premium product to supply the growing consumer appetite for our products across the world.
More people like Roger Sexton – a proud South Australian who continues to do this State proud.
We must all support our exporters to ensure the South Australian economy becomes strong again.
In this I also commend the initiatives Brenton and his Council have taken in recent years to grow the ties between this region and China.
And I would encourage all South Australians to add their support by trying Beston’s Edwards Crossing, Fancy Bites, Kyubu and Mables cheeses next time they go to their local supermarket.
You will not only be supporting job growth here in the Murraylands and other regions of the State.
You will also be supporting our dairy farmers, many of whom have to work incredibly hard every day to make ends meet.
Ladies and gentlemen, it now gives me great pleasure to declare this Beston Global Foods Company Jervois factory officially open.
I also invite you to join me in having a closer look at the amazing mural nearing completion on the wall opposite, which is bound to become a tourist attraction in its own right.