Fonterra plans to invest A$6m (US$5.7m) in a plant in Australia as part of its programme to rationalise manufacturing in the state of Victoria.

In 2012, Fonterra announced it will close its soft cheeses facility in Cororooke, where around 130 people are employed. The facility is scheduled for closure next month.

The company will shift production of ricotta from Cororooke to a plant in Stanhope, the group told just-food today (19 September).

The move will create six new jobs at Stanhope and includes new cheese making, processing and packaging equipment.

The investment has been supported by a $250,000 grant from the Victorian Government and was unveiled at the Stanhope site by Deputy Premier of Victoria, Peter Ryan, last week.

“This is a great example of Government and industry working together to ensure we deliver on the global opportunities for dairy. By focusing Stanhope’s production on high-value products, like ricotta cheese, we are able to increase the site’s productivity, efficiency and competitiveness,” said Judith Swales, MD of Fonterra’s Australian business.

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Swales said the facility upgrade would help “future-proof” Stanhope and strengthen Fonterra’s presence in Victoria.