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Committee for Geelong's Weekly Addy Opinion Piece - Nuchev

While the City of Greater Geelong's approval of the Nuchev proposal to develop a substantial dairy goat farm at Moorabool was seen by some as controversial, the positive recommendation fits with our region's need to expand agricultural industries.

The Committee for Geelong has long supported nutritional dairy operator Nuchev's plans, recognising the inherent innovation and long-term contribution the business will make to Geelong. In the creation of 400 jobs, Nuchev will become a significant local employer, giving staff access to training and upskilling in a completely new industry for this area. The company and its staff will spend locally too, supporting local businesses and becoming an active advocate of our region as it exports internationally. By 2020, Nuchev will have annual local spend of around $130m, and advertising of the product and its source to key markets overseas is expected to boost our visitor economy and promote further investment in Geelong.

This kind of initiative is exactly what our region needs; maximising our region's natural advantages to secure new opportunities, such as the global demand for safe, nutritious food. And that's Nuchev's mandate - by setting up local production and processing, it will ensure the integrity and value of the product for the consumer, from the farm all the way to the shelf.

While the farm has its opponents, the Council took into account the measures Nuchev has taken to ensure the farm will meet all regulatory requirements, and to modify plans in response to valid concerns in the community about possible impacts of the farm. It is in the company's best interests to ensure its animals are well looked after, and that the farm is sustainable and minimises environmental impacts.

An EPA works approval underlies the application and this should give comfort that Nuchev has every intention of building a business our community is proud to have located in our region.

A recent discussion paper by the Advisory Committee to the State Ministers for Planning and for Agriculture, comments that the trend towards more intensive but more sustainable production systems is likely to continue. Operations like Nuchev will provide models of stringent animal welfare and environmental standards, as well as best practice health and safety.

Nuchev's innovation in introducing large-scale goat milking and processing facilities in our region is in direct response to local and international demand for high-quality, minimally processed, nutritional milk formula products. As the first goat dairy operation of this size in Victoria, the farm delivers on state planning strategies to facilitate intensive animal industries on land set aside for agriculture. The Council's approval in turn recognises that this use of the land will support a local operation with global export potential.

As Geelong transforms, our city must be responsive to global demand in order to thrive. Nuchev's ambitious but clear vision will certainly help our region further diversify and prosper.

Rebecca Casson is the Committee for Geelong Chief Executive Officer. Follow the Committee for Geelong on Twitter @Comm4Geelong.



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