Dairy farm, cows, cattle, rural Photo: Bev Lacey / The Chronicle
Dairy farm, cows, cattle, rural Photo: Bev Lacey / The Chronicle Bev Lacey

Another billionaire ploughs money into dairy

BRW rich-lister and retailer Gerry Harvey will become the latest billionaire to invest heavily in dairy farming with a stake of up to $80 million headed for the Coomboona Holsteins operation in Victoria.

Mr Harvey's investment in the 2000ha property near Shepparton will involve the construction of three huge sheds milking 6000 cows, according to Queensland Country Life.

The deal follows billionaire Gina Rinehart's investments in dairy farms around Australia over the past 12 months, including her $500 million Hope Dairies joint venture with Chinese industrial giant China National machinery Industry Corporation to export infant milk powder from the Mary Valley.

State Development Minister Dr Anthony Lynham confirmed this month the government was still working with Hope Dairies Pty Ltd on its proposal to develop Australia's largest integrated dairy and milk processing facility near Gympie.

"Discussions are currently underway about bringing together the 19,000 cow herd and the project is still on schedule to commence operations in late 2016," Dr Lynham said.

Hope Dairies will take up 155ha of an initial 800ha reserved in the Valley in late 2014 for the processing plant and infrastructure.

The Coordinator-General released the surplus land to the open market last month.

Expressions of interest have closed and the State Government is now reviewing more than 40 EOIs.

In January, Mrs Rinehart added to her portfolio with a joint venture position in Western Australia's Bannister Downs Dairy, which included family-owned companies, Northcliffe dairy farmers Mathew and Suzanne Daubney's Bannister Downs Dairy.

That investment would centre on the construction of a $20 million purpose-built processing facility.

The Gympie Times will bring readers an update this week on the proposed quarter horse racing facility at Bollier Park.

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