IN a bit over six months, Queensland's Capricorn coast will be home to a new $11.6 million pineapple processing plant.
Hidden Valley Harvest will develop the plant at Yeppoon, just outside Rockhampton, in a venture jointly funded by the Federal Government, which is tipping in $5,808,000.
Ground was broken at the site on December 10 and the plant is expected to be operational by June 2020.
According to Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Development, Michael McCormack, the 2000sq m plant will feature the latest technology and lift economic growth.
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"By supporting 46 jobs in construction and creating an expected 26 ongoing jobs after completion, in addition to using local businesses and producers, this project will help bring economic prosperity to Yeppoon for many years to come," he said.
The LNP Member for Capricorn Michelle Landry said the plant had the potential to open new markets because it would meet "consumer demands locally and internationally for high quality processed fruit products".
She said it was likely to draw new customers to the Queensland pineapple and tropical fruit industries.
"The project will boost the skills and knowledge of regional people in the use of leading edge food technology, provide a more sustainable way of managing fruit supply to meet consumer demand and provide a significant boost to the local area by generating economic activity throughout the region," Ms Landry said.
"We have the best quality pineapples here in Yeppoon and I'm happy to see how the ingenuity of primary producers will create new and exciting products with existing stocks."
The government's commitment was made through the Regional Jobs and Investment Packages.
It is designed to drive economic growth and create jobs by investing in projects which diversify regional economies, stimulate long-term growth, deliver sustainable employment and enable applicants to enter new markets and sectors.