New Zealand dairy group Fonterra is investing AUD4.3m (US$32m) to boost the cheese and whey capacity at its Wynyard plant in the Australian state of Tasmania.

The investment will increase the plant’s cheese making capacity by 8,000 MT per annum. The extra capacity will help the Wynyard plant meet growing demand for Fonterra’s cheese and whey from its domestic and export customers, the company said. The Wynyard plant has been running at full capacity since a fire destroyed a cheese plant at Stanhope in the state of Victoria in December 2014. 

Steve Taylor, regional operations manager south for Fonterra’s business in Australia, said the Wynyard factory is a key part of Fonterra’s global “multi-hub strategy”.

“Tasmania is an important region for Fonterra and our multi-hub strategy, and we continue to invest here for the long-term,” he said. “The more we invest for growth the more competitive our business will be, putting us in a strong position to manage global volatility, pay the best possible price to farmers and the best possible returns to our shareholders. 

The expansion will see Fonterra’s total Australian cheese production increase by 50% once the group’s new Stanhope plant begins in mid-2017. Fonterra announced plans to invest NZD141m in Stanhope in December 2015.