National Foods to close Ipswich site

Posted by Nicole Eckersley on 29th April 2010

National Foods announced yesterday that it will be closing down its plant in the Ipswich suburb of Booval in favour of an expanded site at Crestmead.

The company is planning to invest $55 million in the Crestmead manufacturing facility, increasing production from 140 million litres capacity to 250 million litres. There is currently no firm date for the end of production at Booval.

National Foods Supply Chain Director, Arthur Murphy, said the company was excited about the expansion.

“We have a great business at Booval and great people, however when we take into account the duplication in our network and potential for future growth it makes sense to consolidate our volume into the Crestmead site,” Murphy said.

“This is a strategic decision and in no way a reflection on the people who are doing a great job producing quality products at Booval every day.”

The company has announced that all its employees at the Booval site will have the opportunity to express their interests in moving across to the Crestmead site, and that National Foods will also consider assisting employees with interstate relocations across its Australian network. The company has also guaranteed entitlements for affected workers.

The company also stated that farmers will be unaffected. “There will be no impact on local farmers as National Foods will continue to require the milk it buys locally,” said Murphy.

Councillor Paul Tully, from the Ipswich City Council, told the ABC that the decision will affect the workers’ families, and urged National Foods to reconsider its decision.

“It would be a big hike for a lot of the workers to travel from Ipswich to Logan City and back every day,” he said.

“Even though some of them may be prepared to do it, it may mean children and their families are moving, changing schools. There’s going to be a lot of dislocation for a lot of people involved in this particular decision.”

Around 100 employees work at the Booval National Foods site.